North Shropshire residents are being encouraged to extend their decorations to the outside of the house, to help boost the Christmas spirit.

The call is being made by the Forestry Commission as each year people are dressing their houses with more and more Christmas decorations, ranging from a modest wreath and a few fairy lights to singing snowmen and giant inflatable Santas.

But the commission believes the trees are an environmentally-friendly alternative to these plastic decorations.

“We want to help people to bring a bit of Christmas cheer to the nation,” said Tanya Nesbitt-Rex, Christmas tree manager at Forestry Commission England.

“Just think how fantastic the streets of England will look if we all free Christmas trees from the confines of the house and have one outside too.

“You only need to look at Pinterest or Instagram and you’ll see all the wonderfully creative ways people have decorated their outdoor trees. We think this will help people have a really magical Christmas 2017.

“A Norway Spruce is the ideal tree for outside as it has that beautiful Christmas tree smell. Being kept outside in the cooler air means the needles will stay on for longer, and as long as it is kept well-watered it will last for the whole Christmas season.”

The Forestry Commission is also encouraging people to visit one of their forest-based Christmas tree sales centres to buy a real Christmas tree to help people to connect with nature during a time of year that is often associated with stress.

Andy Coggins, recreation manager at Forestry Commission England said: “It has been scientifically proven that being more immersed in nature can help reduce stress and anxiety.

“So, the perfect antidote after doing battle on the high street is to enjoy a magical trip to the forest and the festive treats on offer at our Christmas Tree sales centres.

“You’ll also know that the tree you pick will have been provided by tree experts so will be of the highest quality and grown in a sustainable way.”