Have a read at some of our Christmas Tree Festivals stories, written by some lovely CTF organisers and visitors! If you've got a story you'd like to share with us, get in touch so we can post on this page!
Chinnor Christmas Tree Festival by Rev’d Maggie Thorne
St Andrew's Church, December 2018
The annual Christmas Tree Festival at St Andrew’s Church has grown bigger every year, and this year (our the 8th year) was the biggest ever with 38 trees on display!
Once again, the Festival was an opportunity for participants – from community groups to individuals - to be part of a spectacular display within this beautiful medieval church by decorating a Christmas tree in the theme of 'Christmas in Words'. Everyone rose to the challenge and decorated their trees in imaginative and festive ways, whilst enjoying being part of this unique mixture of heritage, community expression, and fun. The Christmas Tree Festival also reminded visitors that at the heart of Christmas is generosity, hospitality, and of course the birth of Jesus.
There were many visitors who came to view our Church and the Christmas Tree Festival, experiencing the peace and love of our Lord Jesus within our ancient building. During the Festival, the public, while wandering through the forest of decorated trees, enjoyed live music by school choirs and musicians. Refreshments were also sold to those who just wanted to sit and soak up the festive atmosphere.
A very sincere thank you to everyone who helped in any way – special thank you to the Christmas Tree Festival Committee, visitors, servery duty, door stewards, baking or supplying goods for us to sell, who sang or played to entertain. Special thanks to the fantastic catering team who kept us supplied with food and drinks throughout. Also, a special thank you to the following:
Amelia Burdett, Aston Rowant Handbell Ringers, Edward Thompson, George Garman, Graham Smallbone, Izzy Higgs and Judy Thompson, Mick Sayers, Mill Lane Community Primary School Choir, Richard Thorne, St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School Choir, Ukolade Band and Village Voices Choir.
I am pleased to report that a grand total of £1,868 was raised through door donations, the sale of preserves, hamper tickets and the sale of refreshments. This will go towards the stonework and the repair of the general fabric of St Andrew’s Church. THANK YOU!
Ansley Christmas Tree Festival by Margaret Antill
St Laurence Church, December 2018
We have had another fabulous Christmas Tree Festival, from start to finish. It was a lovely time for all and we extend a big THANK YOU to all who helped out throughout the event. Some of our trees this year included the Christmas Quackers Tree, the Poppy Tree and the Spring Hill Surgery Tree. There were also over 130 prayers on the Prayer Tree, and they were all taken to the altar and offered up to God during the Christmas Day service.
Financially we had great success, up on last year, with £2634.50 raised in total! £530 has been sent to the Mary Ann Evans Hospice, and £95.50 from the stars on the Remembrance Tree has been added to the Church Yard Fund. The concert of traditional English music, which was attended by over 70 people, raised an additional £150 for church funds.
Some of our visitors left kind words of praise for the Festival in our Visitor's book, such as “Amazing display of colour and design” and “Very impressive. Touches the Heart! Well done!"
We wish to say a big thank you to all the people, organisations and businesses who assisted with this event which gave so much enjoyment to so many people!
Kenilworth Christmas Tree Festival by Sue Draper
St Nicholas Church, December 2018
St Nicholas Church in Kenilworth hosted their 10th annual Christmas Tree Festival which coincided with the High Street switching on of lights and had on display 38 trees from a variety of groups within the community. The imagination of these groups is more impressive every year and the time and effort taken to produce such spectacular trees is second to none.
I was delighted to take part in a live radio interview whilst stood in the middle of the Church surrounded by all these beautiful trees. The interview was conducted over the phone with the Breakfast show presenter on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, Lorna Bailey. I was asked to describe to Lorna the spectacle around me and let her and the listeners know what was going on in the Church, when it was open and why we were doing it. She was very easy to chat to and enthused at the sound of our festival. The Breakfast show were also doing an item on Advent calendars and wanted me to say an item you would find behind a door of an advent calendar and then suggest a song to go with it! I talked about candles at Christmas and chose Elton John’s ‘Candle in the Wind’ as my song. We had visitors to the Festival that day who had heard the show and popped in to see for themselves, so a very positive and fun experience!
With money coming in from voting of the trees, refreshments and the sale of wreaths, we are really pleased to be able to give The Alzheimer’s Society over £1460 this year!
Eynsham Christmas Tree Festival by Chris Sudgen
St Leonard’s Church, November 2018
The week before Advent sees the kick off of Christmas Fayres and Markets, the switch on of Christmas Tree Lights, and “Black Friday” sales offers. It is now also marked by Christmas Tree Festivals in church buildings all over the country.
A magical scene of Christmas Trees greeted primary age children and their parents as they visited such a festival, its first, at St Leonard’s Church in Eynsham, Oxfordshire on November 23 and 24, 2018.
Some of the children had contributed to decorating the trees from their groups – from their Primary School or one of the many Church Children’s Group. Among the 16 trees of all sizes from 24 inches to 5 feet were contributions from an Art Class, a Home Group, and the Day Centre. With Christmas music playing families inspected and voted on their favourite tree.
The theme was “While Shepherds Watched” with woolly sheep, one on the top of a tree, and shepherds proliferating.
The Christmas tree is one of the few plants alive in north European gardens and fields when all around is dead. Pagan midwinter festivals took the fir tree as a symbol of continuing fertility and life, and Christians adopted it to represent Jesus who brings life in a world characterized by death. The tree is decorated with lights as Jesus is the light of the world. The Christmas tree is a good example of an inculturated expression of the gospel. Red and white candy canes were explained as representing J for Jesus, and the white and red stripes colours standing for his purity and shed blood.
A poignant memory tree invited people to leave names of people they wished to remember at Christmas time written on hearts attached to a fir tree. It included the name of Tom, a 16-year-old friend of young people in the congregation, killed on his bicycle in a traffic accident earlier in the week.
Visitors could take away leaflets announcing further Christmas events including a performance of the Messiah, Christingle, the Crib service and various Carol services.