Before I begin, let me say that no I am not one of these maniacs who puts their Christmas tree up in June. Our tree will not be making an appearance until at least 10th December, and I wouldn't have it any other way-we always have a real tree, and if nothing else, if we buy it any earlier it starts to look a bit droopy by Christmas. Also, we have a cat, and to have a tree sitting indoors for any longer than is strictly necessary is just asking for trouble, even if she is slightly too porky to be climbing trees.
Now that's out of the way, let's get on to the real topic of this post.
My local town hosts a Dickensian Evening on the last Friday of November every year. I'm not entirely certain where this came from, but basically all the shops stay open late, the shop keepers and staff dress up in Dickensian outfits, chestnuts are roasted, mulled wine is sipped, mistletoe is sold, the Christmas lights are switched on, and a jolly time is had by all. This year, I was a bit of a Scrooge (pun fully intended) and chose not to go in, but this morning, I woke with an urge to pop into Tavistock, and quickly remembered that Dickensian Evening also marks the start of the town's Christmas Tree Festival.
The Christmas Tree Festival takes place inside St Eustachius, Tavistock's church (whose name no one has ever really worked out how to properly pronounce). Basically, local businesses each decorate a Christmas tree in a way which they feel reflects their business, then the church charges visitors the princely sum of a pound to pop in and have a look at them.
Seriously- if you're ever looking for Christmas tree inspiration, you need to high tail down to Tavistock and have a look. Some of these trees are brilliantly decorated, some humorously, some cleverly, some just very prettily, and it's a really lovely way to spend half an hour. When I went in, a local choir was singing Christmas tunes and there was a little stall selling tea and cake, and the smell of the trees all combined to make me feel incredibly festive. There really is something about Christmas in a small town.
And I just wanted to note that I did get permission before I started snapping away- I know churches should be treated with a real level of respect and I truly do honour that. Hopefully this won't offend anyone!
The tree above (awful pictures, terribly sorry) was my absolute favourite. The scent from the dried citrus fruit and cinnamon decorations was carried throughout the entire church- I'm so keen to try to make some similar decorations myself now!
A dental surgery were responsible for this tree. Naturally. Just goes to show the range of things you can do, if you set your mind to decorating your tree in the most ridiculous way possible...!
And a local charity shop- making use of all the ties that no one has bought all year. Well they do say waste not, want not, right!?
I thought this was so clever- launderettes are brilliant, aren't they!? There's something so calming about the scent from them- and hey, if they can make things lke this from what I'm assuming are abandoned socks and jumpers, they're winners in my book.
A slightly more classic tree- so pretty rhough, this was right by the entrance and did really grab my attention, though not quite as much as the one below did...
This was definitely my second favourite. Aren't these little Father Christmas stars so cute!? I think I'd be able to make some too- though clearly not as well as the local quilting society. Could be a new pre-Christmas project, I think!!
So there we have it- Christmas tree decorating at its finest. OK, none of these are exactly going to make it onto the front page of Good Housekeeping (except maybe the one with the amazing smelling decorations, it was so beautiful in person) but they certainly put a smile on my face, and on the faces of everyone else who popped into the church to have a look. If you're in need of some tree decorating inspiration though, I hope they have given you some ideas- I mean, who wouldn't want to have strings of felt teeth on their tree?
Does your local town do anything like this for Christmas?