"I do this every year, I'm a Christmas freak. It's a disease I think I have," says Lebanese entrepreneur Flo Gebara, laughing.

The mother-of-three, who runs a catering company, and her husband Paul moved to Auchterarder in Perth and Kinross 10 years ago after living in Dubai for 22 years.

She isn't joking when she says she persuaded her husband to buy the house (the deal was sealed in five hours) because it had a large Christmas tree growing in the garden.

The Herald: Flo Gebara and her husband Paul opened up their home in Auchterarder to the public to raise charity cashFlo Gebara and her husband Paul opened up their home in Auchterarder to the public to raise charity cash (Image: BBC Scotland)

Their home has no less than 34 trees and some are upside down, to create more space for their winter wonderland, which has earned Beit Al Milad a place in the final of Scotland's Christmas Home of the Year.

Five fabulously festive pads will be scrutinised and admired by Anna Campbell-Jones, Banjo Beale and new judge, Glasgow architect Danny Campbell in Monday's hour-long episode.

The Herald: SCHOTY judges Danny Campbell, Anna Campbell-Jones and Banjo BealeSCHOTY judges Danny Campbell, Anna Campbell-Jones and Banjo Beale (Image: BBC Scotland)

Flo has previously opened her home up to the public to raise funds for children's hospice charity CHAS and had people queuing around the block.

"We raised £4000 and it was such a pleasure," she says. "I thought I'm doing this every year so why not raise some money.

The Herald:

"Part of the reason I wanted to share it this year is, we are in desperate need of hope and cheer and peace," said the businesswoman, referencing the war in Gaza.

Planning for Christmas starts straight after the Halloween decorations have been taken down.

"It's a tradition and all my neighbours know that after the kids leave at 9, I start packing up the Halloween decorations and I put something outside to indicate that the idiot Flo is planning Christmas.

The Herald:

"And they say, there she goes again."


READ MORE: Former Greenock courthouse turned home draws gasps in TV festive special 
 


She says it takes six days "without interruptions" to decorate the entire house and faced a race against time to get the house ready before filming for the BBC show started in November.

"I had two farmers markets where the show got in touch, I don't know how I did it," said Flo, who owns Simply Flo, which specialises in vegan Lebanese cuisine.

She says she makes a special effort with the kitchen of the house because that's where she spends most of her time.

The Herald:

"I live in the kitchen," she said. "To prepare for the markets it takes 18 hours so I make sure that I decorate it the best."

The judges are blown away by one room which contains a minature Dickensian village, complete with a kids' train set.

"The village is magical, you just sit and stare at the people and the detail. I'm a perfectionist with detail. It has to be spot on," she said.

"When I saw the upside-down Christmas tree in Dubai, 15 years ago, it was a very trendy thing. 

"Because I have this beautiful village, it does save me space. We lived in an apartment in Dubai that was like a penthouse and was bigger than this house.

"When I take everything down, it looks like we have been mugged. It's so bare but then you get used to it and it's nice and calm again."


READ MORE: Edinburgh railway station renovation crowned Scotland's Home of the Year 


The couple have three grown-up children; Michael, 22, Matthew, 21 and Megan, 18 who still lives at home and their mother says they appreciate the efforts she goes to every Christmas.

"They wait for it every year. You cannot put a price for the look on the face of the kids when they come in," she said.

"I used to lock their rooms and not let them see while I was working so I could surprise them.

The Herald:

"Their eyes light up. If my kids get together with someone that doesn't like Christmas, it's going to be a disaster."

She is already planning next year's decorations in her head and says taking everything down on January 6 is down to her.

 "No one dares to touch anything, they would die of a mysterious death."

Also making it to the 'SCHOTY' final is Hops Cottage in Glasgow's west end, which is owned by actors Scarlett Mack and her husband Gerry McLaughlin, who has appeared in Still Game and Outlander.

The Herald:

The couple bought and renovated the former workers' cottage seven years ago and it is immediately likened to a gingerbread house by the judges when they arrive.

"That's my vibe, to live in a real-life gingerbread house," said Scarlett, who says she starts planning her Christmas decorations in the Autumn.

"I like decorating for Autumn and what I want is a nice easy transition without spending too much and chucking out plastic.

The Herald: Hops Cottage makes the most of winter foliage Hops Cottage makes the most of winter foliage (Image: BBC Scotland)

"I found that this year was the first year I got the right. I put up all the hops for the Autumn and I really enjoyed that feel of bringing the outside inside and then I was able to put fairy lights and decorations on that, which was really cheap.


READ MORE: Former 19th-century church manse shortlisted for Scotland's Home of the Year 


"I don't spend loads of money on Christmas, I don't think it's really necessary, to be honest.

"I feel like with Christmas, it's a lot of effort for a very short period of the year and we don't have a tonne of storage space either. 

The Herald: The Whisky Office is a space for the couple to relax with a fireside drinkThe Whisky Office is a space for the couple to relax with a fireside drink (Image: BBC Scotland)

"The idea for me is the feeling of relaxation and the desire to sit down with a glass of wine and watch a film. For me, I like warm light and the cosyness and the tranquility."

The judges are particularly impressed by the couple's Whisky Office which is a no-go zone for their two sons Rocco, 7 and Reddox, 5.

"It was my husband's idea to create a space that was not adult-only but more adult-centric so we had a space.

"Open-plan living is all well and good until you want to relax without constantly staring at toys.

"So we wanted to make a room that is totally separate but has an adult feel.

"Obviously the kids are allowed in but they don't play in there. That's not the job of that room.

"It lends itself to Christmas so well with being that red colour.

"We wanted an old-fashioned feel when you walked in. I felt that the deep red was so atmospheric and worked so well with the brick.

"I did every single brick on the fireplace - it was a labour of love."

Scotland’s Christmas Home of the Year will be aired on Monday at 9pm on BBC One Scotland.