Interview: Gisela Graham On What Christmas Means to Her

Interview: Gisela Graham On What Christmas Means to Her

The owner of one of Europe’s leading gifts and homeware design companies tells us what she loves most about the festive season.

Gisela Graham has built a business around her love for Christmas. Her leading giftware and homeware company has entered its 40th year, and still going stronger than ever.

She chalks her company’s continuing success up to its “great people,” as she says, “Without inspiring, resourceful staff and suppliers, it wouldn’t matter how wonderful my designs were.

Having the best team around me, from the top to the bottom, is what continues to drive the business forward.”

She also muses that, in order to stay in the interiors business this long, “you have to possess an almost childlike love for creating beautiful things.” Does she still possess such love? Absolutely. “So much brings a deep sense of wonderment to me.”

We ask her to take us back to the beginning, and it turns out Christmas is baked into the origins of the Gisela Graham company. It all began at her kitchen table in 1983, when she had two young children and a dream of selling decorations. Her first stand was at the Harrogate Fair, selling her handmade Christmas products.

Gisela has retained an attachment to Christmas ever since, calling it her “first love” when it comes to decorating and design. Why does she think Christmas, and Christmas decoration, has kept such a hold on people through so many years?

“Creating our own special wonderland at home is very important for people, especially in times of national and international woe.”

What does Christmas mean to her?

“Christmas for me means family, good food and the chance to put my feet up for a few days after being surrounded by decorations all year! I’m fortunate enough to have two wonderful sons and usually spend the festive holiday in the US with my oldest and his family.”

She’s still keeping a sharp eye on all the Christmassy trends. Naturalistic looks are very popular at the moment, though Gisela understands that everything has its moment, and these things tend to come in “cycles.” For her, that’s one of the things she loves most about interiors: “trends come and go but if you love something you can hold onto it and it will soon be back in fashion.”

We circle back to earlier themes. How, exactly, does she keep finding inspiration after all this time?

“I think this goes back to being surprised by the world all the time. There’s always something that catches my eye, from a texture in nature to the brightest blue on a summer’s day. It all gets noted down and recycled in my brain when it comes to designing.”

Discover stunning festive decorations at Gisela Graham HERE