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.
Or maybe not if you have young children around! I have to admit any OCD tendencies I had have been put to one side now I leave the decorating to the children – I’ve taken to buying two random and un-matching new decorations each year for them, so now it’s all just a complete riot of colour and no style (yes the tasteful gold and red version has long gone). 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!
Christmas Tree Festivals
If 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 I strongly suggest you 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 of the shops.
The Christmas Tree Festivals Light Up Our Local Churches
I have been lucky enough to live in Hawkchurch for the last 10 years and our festival has become very popular both in the number of entries and visitors (largely due to sterling work by resident Jean Ransford) – so popular in fact that last year BBC Spotlight came to film it! It might not be the largest festival locally, but for a small village it’s a great effort. Take a look at the little video that featured on the TV. Click on this link here.
“The Christmas Trees make us smile – it’s fun to see what clever ideas other people have”
We’ve done all sorts- 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!
As part of my small contribution to village life each year I challenge the children to come up with new ideas and then proceed to become completely stressed about that fact that we have entered into the competition and a) I don’t want to let the Church down by leaving a gap and b) I’m secretly rather competitive – yes there is a cup to be won!
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.
There have been “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.
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 appeared last year!
So please, 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.
Hawkchurch Christmas Tree Festival
runs from 12 noon – 6pm from 18th December until Christmas Eve when there is a wonderful child friendly Crib Service at 4pm.
Honiton St Paul’s Church:
Thurs 8th – Sun 11th including a variety of live music
Friday 9th Dec – Sun 11th 10am – 5pm with a singalong at 5pm on Sunday
Saturday 10th -23rd 11am – 6pm. Axe Valley Community Choir are providing entertainment on Saturday evening
Bridport United Church East Street:
Tuesday 6th – Sunday 18th December – over 60 trees decorated by local residents and businesses
Ilminster Minster Church:
Tuesday 6th to Friday 9th 9.30 am to 6.00 pm; Saturday 10th December 10 am to 4 pm
Clyst St Mary near Exeter:
Friday 9th to Sunday 11th December 11am – 6pm daily
Friday 16th Dec – Sun 18th Dec
Lyme Regis Baptist Church comes to life with 27 trees decorated by local organisations. Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday it will be open from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Exeter, Princesshay Roman Walk
18 Nov until 6th January -plenty of time to visit the 35 trees decorated by a 35 local Charities.
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)!
Some festivals such as Crediton have been and gone already so I hope to add them in for next year!
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. (At Hawkchurch you are asked to pay £1 for each voting slip).