Saturday, December 28, 2013

St. Peter's Christmas Tree Festival 2013, Harrogate, England

St. Peter's is a church right in the heart of Harrogate. It sits on the High Street and faces the town square with a cenotaph dedicated to World War I veterans. Betty's Tea Shop, a famous chain begun in Harrogate, is across the square. The church is a natural gathering spot and uses its location to provide services to the community. They often feed the homeless in the church, especially on days when other charities close their doors. To raise money for Christmas meals for the homeless and needy, they've hosted a Christmas Tree Festival over the years. I visited the ninth annual event in early December of 2013.

The Poster

The Sample Tree

Businesses, civic groups, individuals, and even other churches are invited to decorate trees and bring them to St. Peter's. The trees are put all over and visitors can judge which they think is best. Entry is free but ballots cost one pound which goes to the meal fund. Dozens of trees fill the church. Here's a sampling of the good, the bad, and the ugly!

A Remembrance Tree, where names of the recently deceased may be added

A tree with wine corks as ornaments!

Traditional to whimsical

Whimsical to traditional

Odd, Less Odd, Least Odd

Yes, Less Odd is wearing a jacket!

My nominees for the worst and the best are these entries:

I don't think this needs any comment

Nutcrackers with the Sugar Plum Fairy at the top!

Plenty of other trees fill the (pretty wide) gap in between those two.

Messy Church is a under-ten-year-old group; the Daleys decorated with flags!

Some more classic types

Very traditional

Vanilli's Ice Cream Tree!

A small display by one of the trees reminds visitors of the hardships experienced even now by those living in Bethlehem. I visited Bethlehem with a pilgrim group in 2000 and did have to go through an Israeli checkpoint in order to visit the birthplace of Jesus.

Bethlehem display

If you'd like to donate to the Christmas meal fund, visit their Just Giving web page. The festival raised £1,500.

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