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Christmas Tree Festival 22-30 November
Christmas Tree Festival 22-30 November

This was the church’s first attempt at a Festival of Christmas Trees, and a stunning success it turned out to be.

Over 70 trees were supplied, and decorated with great skill, by local firms and organisations, and the Friends played their part-both in the organization of the event, and by contributing two trees-the “official” one (seen here with the Vicar and two assistants “sorting out the lights”)


Christmas Tree Festival 22-30 Novemberan individual entry - the Ceppo.

Those of you who visited the Festival (around 10,000 by one estimate) will now know that the Ceppo is. For those who missed it, here it is.

The Ceppo is an Italian alternative to the traditional Christmas tree, and it provoked a lot of interest at the Festival (exceeded only by Specsavers Upside-Down tree!). if you want to know more, go to:

The Festival was only on for a week, and lots of people wanted to know why it didn’t continue until Christmas. The main reason is that Advent, starting this year on 30 November, is a time of preparation for celebration of Christ’s birth, and the church is always free of decoration until around Christmas Eve. Other, more practical considerations include the exhaustion of the stewards and organisers, and wear and tear on the trees. Children cannot resist touching, and by the end of the week, some of the trees were looking-“used” might be the word. Nevertheless, exhausted or not, it was a wonderful week, and the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from everyone who came was really heart-warming.

Click on the photos above to enlarge.

Ceppo 2

Following the debut of the Ceppo tree at the Festival of Christmas Trees in November, the symbolism of the tree inspired one of our Friends to write a Carol about it. Here is Tony Hallam’s explanation of the tree, followed by the Carol he wrote.

“It is not a great step from the promotion of a traditional triangular-shaped fir tree, to the Christian doctrine of the TRINITY (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Through some eyes the Christmas tree both portrays and identifies with this central belief.

However, in the mid-19th century in Italy, the fir tree, bearing its pagan connotation, did not always find doctrinal support. Its predominant shape was instead translated into an Italian concept - the CEPPO or "Tree of Light".

The CEPPO is a pyramidal structure, several feet high. It originated in Tuscany and is tiered with several shelves. The frame is decorated in tinsel and evergreen fragments often with lighted candles and gilt pine cones.

A top shelf bears - SIMPLE GIFTS (gifts of man), a middle shelf bears - FRUITS AND NUTS (gifts of the earth), the lowest shelf bears a PRESEPIO or nativity scene (gift of God). At the apex is mounted either a star (of Bethlehem) or an angel (Gabriel) - a symbol of hospitality - a greeting to the Christ Child in the manger.            

As part of the FESTIVAL OF CHRISTMAS TREES (link) (November 2014), a CEPPO was specially constructed by members of the 'Friends' (see illustration) and its display along with the many other trees in the church provoked considerable comment.           

As a follow-up, the following verses were written to describe the CEPPO, and with a title of - "THE GIFT" - set to music in carol form, dedicated to and sung by the choir of the church at its annual Christmas Carol Concert in December."


Christmas Tree Festival 22-30 NovemberThe fir tree bore a mark of shame,
This stain now bleached in form.
By triple shape it took on change,
The Ceppo style was born.

A tiered figure takes on shape,
Three gifts now plated out.
By trio-ed props the frame is formed,
Surmounted clear by star.

The gifts of man atop the form,
Below, the gifts of earth.
But gifts of God sit at its heart,
A group in stable bare.

No tree, no frame
No mantling green....
Can mask the simple truth....
A Holy Child now born in straw
For all a Holy Gift.

May God be praised ..  a tree.              
May God be praised  .. in three.           
May God be praised ..  a gift.                  

Click on the photo above to enlarge.

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