Christmas Tree Festivals 2017
There are many of us who enjoy putting up a Christmas tree at home. Maybe you have your own rituals in place, special decorations that come out year after year or a much loved fairy for the top. Some people like a co-ordinated colour theme or carefully spaced decorations, presents placed neatly underneath it.
These days I leave the decorating to the children, ours is a complete riot of colour and no style. Although you can be sure that once they have gone to bed I will be subtly rearranging their clumps of baubles and tinsel into a more evenly spread vision of the perfect tree!
Enter into the Christmas Spirit
Are you are after some inspiration of how you could improve your tree decorating skills or just want to be impressed at other people’s imaginations and talents? Then why not head along to one of the local Christmas Tree Festivals that are now becoming a popular event in many of our Churches. These are a great way to get into the festive spirit away from the clamour and commercialisation of the shops.
Christmas Tree Festivals Light Up Our Local Churches
I lived in the lovely village of Hawkchurch for 10 years. The festival there has become very popular both in the number of entries and visitors. So popular in fact that BBC Spotlight came to film it! It might not be the largest festival locally, but for a small village it’s a great effort.
“The Christmas Trees make us smile – it’s fun to see what clever ideas other people have”
Of course there are lots of traditional trees, but the variety of decorations seems to be endless – knitted ones, biscuits, photos, dinosaurs and Disney characters, origami and even brussel sprouts !
Different churches have different guidelines – why don’t you see what your local one is doing and maybe join in. It’s great for all ages, businesses, toddler groups and schools to join is as well.
We’ve joined in on a number of occasions – origami stars, biscuits with jewels in the middle and various homemade decorations as well as some adult trees like the Desperate Housewives entry – a pink tree with no decorations, just a bottle of wine and a pair of Christmas rubber gloves!
Brussel Sprouts and Quality Street!
The great thing about the Hawkchurch Christmas Tree Festival is that there are no rules – you either enter for a large or small space and the rest is up to you. We’ve seen “trees” made of drain pipes, horseshoes, electrical cable and wood. Each year one of the most popular trees is one made of sweet wrappers (the visitors get to eat the Quality Street before sticking on the wrappers!) and a lovely memory tree where you can add your own personalised memory star.
So even if you never think to visit a church at any other time of year and whatever your faith, then make this the exception. It will bring a smile to your face and will surely get you into the Christmas spirit.
Here are some I have found out about in Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
Christmas Tree Festival events in Devon Dorset and Somerset
Exeter, Princesshay Roman Walk:
16 Nov until 6th January – plenty of time to visit the 35 trees decorated by a 35 local Charities.
Ottery St Mary Parish Church:
Weds 29th Nov – Sat 2nd Dec 11am – 5pm. Light refreshments available
St Andrew’s Church, Harberton, Totnes:
Thurs 30th Nov – Sun 3rd Dec. From 6.30pm Thursday (opening night), then 11am – 6pm. Cafe open from 11.30am
Clyst St Mary near Exeter:
Fri 1st to Sun 3rd December 11am – 6pm daily
Tavisitock St Eustachius’ Church;
Fri 1st – 10th 10am -4pm ending with a Christingle Service on 10th Dec.
Up to 60 trees – refreshments available
Sherborne Methodist Church:
Sat 2nd – Sun 10th Dec: 10am – 4.30pm daily
Sun 10th Dec: 6.30pm Carol Service amongst the trees
Ilminster Minster Church:
Mon 4th to Sat 9th December 10.30 am to 5.30 pm – over 60 trees decorated by local groups and charities
Bridport United Church East Street:
Weds 6th – Sun 17th Dec (tbc) – over 60 trees decorated by local residents and businesses
St Andrew’s Church Colyton:
Weds 6th Dec 4pm – 9pm (also Colyton Christmas Fair worth heading along to) until Sunday 3rd.
Thurs – Sat 10am – 4pm. Sunday 11am – 4pm followed by Messy Church and Christingle at 5pm.
Thurs 7th – Sun 10th Dec Open Thurs & Fri 11am – 6pm, Saturday 10.30 – 7pm followed by a Choral Society concert at 7.30pm. Sunday 11am – 5pm. Also Governors’ Room tours at 12 noon daily and tours of the Bell Tower at 2pm daily. Last year there were over 70 trees on display.
Honiton St Paul’s Church:
Thurs 7th – Sun 10th Dec – also light refreshments and activities for children
Fri 8th – Sun 10th Dec 10am – 5pm with a singalong at 5pm on Sunday
This one’s a bit different – do go along to check out the Nativity Scenes (ours included!)
Mon 11th -22nd Dec – Open weekdays 11am – 6pm. Carol Service 3pm on Sunday 17th.
Lyme Regis Baptist Church:
Fri 15th Dec – Sun 17th
Lyme Regis Baptist Church comes to life with trees decorated by local organisations. Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m on Friday and Saturday.
18th Dec until Christmas Eve 12 noon – 6pm. There is a wonderful child friendly Crib Service at 4pm on Christmas Eve.
Salisbury – St Thomas Church
5th – 10th December
Weekdays and Saturday: 10am – 5.30pm, Sunday: 12 noon – 6pm
If by any chance you are heading to Melton Molbray it apparently has one of the largest festivals in the country with over 1000 entries (that would take a whole day to look around)!
For more nationwide events some are listed on www.christmastreefestivals.org
Please note that most Festivals ask for a small contribution or donation of some sort to look at the trees as the Churches are always raising money for repairs or local charities.
If you are looking for other things to do over the Christmas period the please also take a look at my Christmas Events Guide
Thank you for reading – Clare