Over one hundred decorated Christmas trees in St. Andrew’s Church in Farnham, England
There is nothing quite like a decorated Christmas tree to evoke a festive spirit, never mind finding one hundred and seven of them under one roof. During a walk through Farnham, a British market town known for its Georgian streets, historic buildings, and craft heritage, I discovered a Festival of Christmas trees inside St. Andrew’s Church.
The trees lined the sides of the sanctuary and filled nooks and crannies. The trees had been decorated by various businesses and community groups, who competed for Best Christmas Tree Awards. Visitors voted by placing money in plastic tumblers underneath the tree. One vote = ten pence. Visitors could vote for as many trees as they liked as often as they liked. Trees that raised the largest amount of sums won the prizes.
St. Andrew’s church was a beautiful setting for the festival. The oldest parts of the building date back to the 12th century when Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury, but a recent conservation and development project uncovered the foundations of a 7th century Saxon church. Over the years, the church has changed and grown through renovations, destruction, and additions. Elements from each century can be found. The exterior gives the overall impression of a 15th century church. The clock dates from the 17th century.
Decorations ranged from traditional to whimsical to offbeat to thought-provoking. It was a delight to see many hand-made ornaments and come across trees where children had obviously contributed.
Various musical groups performed throughout the four-day event. Unfortunately none were scheduled during the time of my visit.
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