Christmas Tree Festival

It seems very early in the year to be writing about Christmas, but organisation is well underway for the 2019 Christmas Tree Festival at St Stephen’s. This year’s tree-based excitement will take place on Friday 29 & Saturday 30 November and Sunday 1 December.

Showcasing the community is a major part of the Christmas Tree Festival, so if you would like to be involved this year, please keep reading for more information and a link to our booking form.

There is no requirement to have a ‘traditional’ tree, in fact less traditional trees are often voted as the favourite by visitors each year.

The idea is to represent your business / community organisation / charity through your tree, decorations or both. There is no charge for taking part, unless you are using your tree to sell decorations, in which case there is a £5 charge.

Last year, there were over 50 trees representing a fabulous cross section of our local community. It would be wonderful to increase the number of local groups and businesses featured.

Trees need to be set up on Thursday 28 November and taken down on Monday 2 December.

Photos from last year’s festival to give you an idea.

WHERE WILL THE TREES BE? Inside St Stephen’s, around the church in various places. We will have space for around 60 trees.

WHEN IS THE FESTIVAL? The Festival will be open on Friday 29 November,  Saturday 30 November and Sunday 1 December. You are also welcome to join us for our regular Sunday church service with a special Christmas theme, sat amongst the trees, at 11.00 am.

DO I NEED TO PROVIDE MY OWN TREE? Yes. There will be spaces for small trees, medium trees and large trees. The majority of spaces will be for medium trees with a base (or the widest part of the tree) of around 1m (approx 3 ft).

Your tree can be real, artificial or created from something entirely unique (possibly relevant to your business / group).

WHEN WOULD I NEED TO SET UP? Setting up will take place on Thursday 28 November. Church will be open for setting up from 1pm – 7pm.

WHEN WOULD I NEED TO CLEAR AWAY? Trees should be removed on Monday 2 December between 1 pm and 7 pm. Please do not plan on taking your tree down on the Sunday, we want to make sure that ALL trees are in place for visitors to enjoy right up until the last minute of the festival.
Please note that setting up /taking down of the trees is necessary within the times stated; due to other church activity prior to, and following the Festival. If this is a major problem, please do get in touch to discuss possible options.

DO I NEED TO DECORATE MY TREE ACCORDING TO A SET THEME? No. Anything that represents your group or business (and is appropriate for a church setting and all ages to view).

CAN YOU GIVE SOME SUGGESTIONS/IDEAS? Of course…… Pubs could decorate with bottle tops and beer mats; your group could hang little framed pictures of your members; a walking group could use miniature walking boots / maps / drinks container / binoculars; a bakery – miniature cakes. Or you can make your tree from something that represents your business / organisation! If you aren’t sure, you can always get some ideas from the gallery from last year (see link above!)

Be as creative as you can, to either advertise or depict who you are, or what you do. If you want to chat through some suggestions relevant to you, by all means contact Rachel.

HOW WILL PEOPLE KNOW WHO THE TREE BELONGS TO? You can place a card / sign to stand at the base of your tree so that people can see the relevance of your decorations. [If you forget, we will make one for you.]

CAN I SPECIFICALLY ADVERTISE MY BUSINESS/GROUP? Yes by all means. This is a fantastic advertising opportunity – business cards / information / vouchers can also be left at this point for people to pick up.

AM I EXPECTED TO MAKE A DONATION? It would depend on the nature of your organisation. We are asking that any businesses / individuals that are using their tree to sell items make a donation of £5. If you are a school, community group or charity, a donation would not be expected.

CAN WE USE ELECTRIC TREE LIGHTS? Yes. Any lights that require mains electricity will be subject to a visual inspection to make sure they are in good order. Not all trees will be near a mains socket though, so it would be great if some people can use battery powered lights. It would also be advisable to bring an extension cable, also subject to visual inspection.

We also ask that you do not use flashing or musical lights as these may be distressing to some visitors.

Our insurance company has ruled out candles (that are lit) on trees!

WILL THERE BE OTHER BUSINESSES/GROUPS OF THE SAME TYPE? Whilst we are trying to target as much variety as possible, we want to offer the same opportunity to participate to all groups and businesses within our locality. This could mean that there would be similar types of organisations / groups as yours; but it is very probable that no two trees will be decorated alike. That said, we will try our best to place trees from similar groups / organisations away from each other.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE HAPPENING THAT WEEKEND? Last year we had a wonderful mix of musical items over the weekend, including school choirs, musical groups and choirs. We are hoping to organise a similar programme of events this year, exact timings of which will be advertised nearer the time. Refreshments will also be available whilst the church is open to view the trees.

SOUNDS GOOD – HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE? This year our registration form is online – simplifying things and saving paper.

ST STEPHEN’S COMMITMENT TO YOU… SECURITY Whilst we are not able to accept liability for your tree, decorations and possessions, we will however guarantee to have a rota of church members in attendance during all advertised ‘opening hours’. The church building will naturally be locked when no one is in attendance, and overnight.
We have run the festival for several years and not had a problem with honesty boxes or any other problems with trees.

ST STEPHEN’S COMMITMENT TO YOU… ADVERTISING We will endeavour to advertise the event extensively, so that the festival is well visited. We also ask that tree holders would promote the event as much as possible, to ensure its success.

REFRESHMENTS will be available in the church building throughout the Festival.