As a last minute Christmas present, I would like to invite you to meet a man who embodies the spirit of Christmas – Johann Wanner. I had the good fortune to meet him during a flying visit to Basel earlier this month and I have to say, he re-ignited my love of this special season and all things sparkly and bright!
Impeccably dressed in a suit echoing another era with an emerald Christmas tree brooch adorning his lapel, Johann has been in the business of making quality Christmas decorations for his entire life. Considering himself “The Couturier of the Christmas Tree”, he regularly advises the powerful and the renowned (sundry Royal families, the White House and even his Eminence, the Pope) about their Christmas decorations but between you and I, he likes nothing better than talking with the enthusiasts who swarm into his two shops in the city.
He has enormous displays of ornaments in every colour, design, shape and size – handmade by craftspeople who specialise in one style of bauble only – and the problem you will have when you visit his shops is making a decision as to what vintage and colour you want to collect.
These miniature works of art are stunning: the little humming bird (above) has a tail made from strands of crystal glass whilst his own favourite is the large, black glass bauble which comes into its own in the shade. For his own tree? He always picks the worst tree he can find to take home – both for the challenge and because it is so grateful to be selected, it more than repays the effort of adornment.
I could have sat here for hours with him, talking about his life which to me, seems to be about giving the people around him great pleasure. Many people feel the same, which is why you can relax amongst the goodies with a glass of champagne and spiced apple cake whilst making the decisions about what to buy – and the best thing is, his shops are open all year around.
When I left, he gifted me this ornament which I had mentioned in passing reminded me of my long-lost mother’s Christmas baubles – and that really sums up how special he really is. Go visit soon.
Contributor: Sue Lowry
NB – Basel’s own Christmas Market – the biggest in Switzerland – is open until Tuesday 23rd December.
Basel Tourism is a client of Magellan PR. Follow them on Twitter @BaselTourism or become a fan on Facebook: Basel Culture Unlimited.
Magellan PR is on twitter: @MagellanPR / on Facebook: MagellanPR / on Pinterest: Sue Lowry / on Google+: Sue Lowry & MagellanPR and on Flickr: Sue Lowry. For more information on our company, visit www.magellan-pr.com. Follow our other blog focussing on travel in the South of England – A3 Traveller.