A Christmas shop in Greytown will open tomorrow and the man behind it is Craig Thorburn, who for almost two decades themed the iconic Kirkcaldie & Stains' Christmas shop.

Mr Thorburn is converting his "summer lounge" into the festive store at his Main St home, which is also the location of his shop, Grand Illusions, next to The White Swan hotel.

The store will sell decorations, artificial trees and lights, and will stock them in three different styles - country, toyshop and contemporary.

It will be open six days a week, closed on Wednesdays, until Christmas.


"It will be a piece of cake," said Mr Thorburn, who has been doing this sort of thing for 40 years.

Mr Thorburn, who was a concept designer for The Christmas Heirloom Company, said he would put together up to 14 Christmas shops each year, with four of those in Australia, all within three weeks.

"It was a great challenge because every space was totally different."

Areas of Kirkcaldie & Stains would be transformed into a Christmas wonderland.

But he would be avoiding the "glitzy look" department stores often went for and his Christmas shop would have a "more natural" feel.

Mr Thorburn, who makes his own wreaths from "local ingredients" with found natural materials, started his creative career at 19, when he took on a job with a display company.

Three years later he was the display manager.

He went on to design private parties for the Louis Vuitton America's Cup and he has themed the Huka Lodge for Christmas and royal visits for 20 years.


Mr Thorburn has also been a photographic stylist for the New Zealand House & Garden magazine.

"It's really incredible what you do. I do love my job."

So far 10 other Greytown businesses would be decorating their shop fronts for the Christmas season, Mr Thorburn said.

The concept designer would decorate the Greytown Town Centre facade, like he did last year, and hoped the town would take on a reputation as a Christmas town.

In the past Mr Thorburn has run seminars on decorating and he is considering starting up workshops in Wairarapa.