CHRISTMAS is coming early to a Morpeth garden centre.
Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre will invite customers to a shopping evening next week to view its festive goods and displays.
And the outlet is also seeking nominations for a young VIP to open its Winter Wonderland next month.
The shopping evening will take place on Thursday in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice and the Great North Air Ambulance.
Tickets cost £1 and the event will include food and drink tastings and craft and gift wrapping demonstrations.
General Manager Roger Wale said: “We are inviting shoppers to come and do some late night Christmas shopping at the garden centre and to see our festive displays.
“To get everyone in the Christmas spirit visitors will be greeted at the entrance by a member of the garden centre team offering glasses of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic festive punch, which stocks last. The alcoholic punch will only be available to customers over the age of 18.
“Customers will be able to try free festive tasty nibbles, including our homemade mince pies which are baked on-site and people over the age of 18 can sample wine from our concession outlet, The Wine Boutique.”
He added: “We have hosted similar events in the past and they have always been a great success. We hope that lots of people join us to kick off the festive season and the countdown to Christmas.”
The event will run from 6pm to 9pm.
Parents, grandparents, guardians and teachers are invited to nominate a young star to help Santa open his Heighley Gate grotto.
The chosen child will be a VIP guest, help with the ribbon cutting ceremony and receive four free passes to visit Santa and his Winter Wonderland.
People simply have to write to the centre saying who they wish to nominate and why and include their address and telephone number.
All entries will be put into a hat and the winner will be drawn at random.
The Winter Wonderland includes a number of rooms for youngsters to explore, such as a snowy mountain and festive lodge. Admission costs £7 per child and £1.50 for adults and includes a visit to Father Christmas, a gift and a badge.
Nominations for the VIP guest should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Roger Wale, General Manager, Star Competition, Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 3DA.
Details should be received by 6pm on Thursday and the winner will be notified the following day. The grotto opening ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 19 at 11am.
For further information contact the centre off the A697, north of Morpeth, on 01670 513416.