Dad uses DIY skills to bring Xmas Markets to his garden – and his family love it

Christmas will look a lot different this year.

Hugging family members from outside households is a big no-no and we can’t go on big boozy nights out like many usually do.

Brits haven’t let this dampen their spirits though.

During the second national lockdown, a dad came up with a creative way to bring festive fun to his own garden.

Steve Froggatt wanted to replicate Manchester Christmas Markets, which are closed this year.

So the 45-year-old got to work on a DIY project for his wife Amanda, and their children Ellisse, 26, Bradley, 22, and Spencer, 14 to enjoy.

Steve, who is a joiner by trade, told Manchester Evening News : "Because the Manchester Christmas Markets were closed, we decided to build our own."

Amanda added: "As soon as they said the markets weren’t going to be open, I said can you build them here please."

She had no doubt that Steve would be able to pull it off – as it wasn't his first time giving part of the house an incredible themed transformation.

During the first lockdown, after a family trip to Jamaica was cancelled, Steve transformed a corner of their home into the Caribbean beach retreat complete with sand, palm trees, sun chairs and a tropical bar.

"He did Jamaica in a morning," Amanda said.

"I went to work, came home and it was already done!"

It didn't take long for the talented craftsman to build the market stalls either.

“It didn’t take me that long really – a couple of hours? Maybe three hours with the lights," Steve said.

"And it didn't cost me much at all."

Steve used materials from work and Amanda added a few inexpensive finishing touches to give the stalls an authentic festive feel.

Amanda said: “I just went to Home Bargains for the accessories and used bits from round the house."

While the project is complete, the couple won't be able to resist adding to it as Christmas approaches.

Steve said: “When we did Jamaica – we were always adding on things. A 6ft 6 Usain Bolt appeared at one time!

"So we’ll always be adding stuff to the markets, definitely."

And Amanda joked: “I just need to try and get an ice rink at the other end of the garden now – but he’s not really having it.”

The family have admitted that they're already getting a lot of use out of their homemade market stalls.

Steve said: “With self-isolating and grown-up children – it does get used and by us all, really."

Its a big hit with the family's neighbours too.

Steve said: “There are two little boys next door and they’ve set up a little market stall themselves in the bedroom that over looks it because they love it that much.

"So now we have to switch the lights on every night for them because they love it.”

As Christmas approaches, the couple plan to recreate the full Christmas Markets experience from their garden with mulled wine, hot dogs and Amanda's paella.

“It’s a shame it’s lockdown because all my girlfriends are desperate to come and try it," Amanda said.

"They absolutely love it."

While their DIY markets seem to be a big hit for now, the couple are undecided on whether they're going to transform them into something else after Christmas or take them down and start a new project from scratch.

"We were supposed to be going to Bali in February and living with the elephants – but that was cancelled," Amanda said.

"So, I don’t know what he’s going to do there for me but he’s going to have to put some elephants in the garden."

Hinting that there's more tricks up his sleeve for 2021, Steve added: "We’ll come up with something else, don’t you worry."

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