The mild weather we have experienced in November and into December has fooled a few plants into thinking spring has turned up early - forgetting the fact they haven't yet had a winter.
We have spring-flowering Stachyurus and Rhododendron flowering at Trebah and many gardens report of daffodils coming out already. If and when the real cold weather sets in, these plants will then go dormant until the spring.
Christmas trees too have apparently been affected, as they would have been felled during the mild and warmest November on record. Usually the cold weather sets in before they are cut and this causes a natural 'shut down' whereby the sap in the branches stops rising, this then allows them to survive longer without their roots.
The only way to delay excessive needle-drop is to water regularly.