THREE best friends are celebrating their third festive season in one of the oldest Christmas shops in the country.

Conversations about taking over the iconic Christmas Shop in Lechlade High Street first started between Gillian Slowly, Mandy Dickinson and Sarah Deo during the pandemic when they discovered the owner, Judy Hurt, was retiring.

They were concerned that one of the town's most treasured assets might disappear for good if they didn't take swift action.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Inside the Cotswold Christmas ShopInside the Cotswold Christmas Shop (Image: Camilla Foster)

Over a whirlwind three-year period the trio have renamed the business Cotswold Christmas Shop, have been featured in OK! online and the shop has also starred in singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner's Driving Home for Christmas music video.

The rebranded shop has also had a face lift and a new website and Instagram account for the business have been created.

In addition, they were asked to decorate 12 Christmas trees inside some of the rental homes at The Lakes by Yoo luxury estate.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Christmas decoration from the Cotswold Christmas ShopChristmas decoration from the Cotswold Christmas Shop (Image: Cotswold Christmas Shop)
However, this new venture has come with lots of challenges as the trio try and navigate the busy Christmas season while juggling full-time jobs.

Gillian's garage has been transformed into a packaging factory for online orders and certain rules have been put in place inside the shop such as no Christmas music until October.

Mum-of-two Gillian said: "The Christmas shop is part of the town's fabric.

"Because we all live in the Lechlade, we felt a responsibility to take it on.

"We have all been buying decorations from the shop since our children were young.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Bauble from Cotswold Christmas ShopBauble from Cotswold Christmas Shop (Image: Cotswold Christmas Shop)
"We always have incense burning in the shop to create a festive ambience.

"The shop attracts a lot of tourists but also families who visit as part of their Christmas traditions.

"We are not trying to be Amazon and always try to go the extra mile for our customers.

"It is hard work, and lifting all those boxes is certainly not glamorous, but we feel a responsibility as custodians of this beloved shop.

"In the new year we want to continue to grow our website and social media following."

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cotswold Christmas Shop exterior Cotswold Christmas Shop exterior (Image: Camilla Foster)
Gillian believes diversifying their range of products will be key to the shop's future success and longevity.

This year they have displayed autumnal, Valentines and Easter decorations and gifts alongside their traditional Christmas stock.

The shop will be open between 10.30am and 4pm everyday until Sunday December 24.

Shoppers can also visit the shop during shorter opening hours (11am-3pm) between December  27 and December 31.