Holly with berries could be in short supply this Christmas because birds are feeding off the trees during the snowy weather.

This forecast came from auctioneer Nick Champion and he is the man who should know, because over the years Nick and his stick have been responsible for shifting more sprigs of holly and mistletoe than anybody else.

Nick Champion is the man who organises the holly and mistletoe sales at Tenbury Wells, which attract sellers from all over the country – and even from Ireland. He said: “We have a chap come over every year. He usually fills up a large van and spends about £1,000. Why? Because there is no mistletoe in southern Ireland.”

Which must be a good pub quiz question. The three annual holly and mistletoe sales have been held this month – the last was on Tuesday. Prices at the first sale varied from £1-£1.50 a kilogram for mistletoe and there was a good trade in holly, which pushed it up to £2 a kilogram.

Holly and mistletoe sales have been held at Tenbury since mid-Victorian times and Mr Champion has been wielding his trusty auctioneer’s stick over the assorted bundles for more than 30 years.

He moves down the lines, rapid firing the sale while keeping a weather eye out for the casual nudge, wink or flick of the finger that denotes a fresh bid.

Sellers are mostly farmers, landowners or members of the gipsy community. Buyers come from garden centres, florists, Christmas wreath makers and small shops, all anxious to take advantage of wholesale prices.

Tenbury is the centre of the mistletoe trade because of its location – it was described by Queen Victoria as “the town in the orchard”. There may not be the vast acres of apple trees for the mistletoe to latch on to these days, but the sales prevail.