Firstly we wish you a Merry Christmas…
In 2022 we reassessed our approach towards the decoration of our Christmas tree here at St. Peter’s. It started off with our desire to convey that Christmas doesn’t have to be all glitz and ostentation.
Our plan was to show that even the simplest of items can produce a pleasing result, and we were favoured by a great many positive responses. The tree reflected those of my childhood and represented my Austrian heritage. The traditional dressing of an Austrian Christmas tree is centuries old and was composed of the sorts of things in an agrarian society that were readily available, could be easily foraged for or made at home. This comprised primarily of pinecones, straw, apples, homemade biscuits, popcorn and candles. Although over the years decorations may have become a little more elaborate, in essence the tree has remained unchanged.
In Austria we don’t have a Santa Claus, instead Christmas is brought by Baby Jesus – the Christ Child, on the evening of the 24 th December, when the lit tree is first presented to the children. A bell is rung to tell them that Jesus has delivered Christmas. It was always a magical and mystical experience.
This year, with that similar sense of paring down, but hopefully not diminishing this sacred and blessed season, we have designed a tree that even the most cash strapped household could replicate, in some form or another – a homemade one.
We have hunted through cupboards and wardrobes to gather wool, paper, wire, string and buttons and using or developing the necessary skills have fashioned an assortment of handcrafted decorations, entirely in shades of white. Its theme being ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ – though sadly the reality will probably only be a wet one……. Many hours have gone into these creations, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they were made with love and from our hearts.
We hope that our results have resonated with the humbleness of Jesus’ birth. He could have been born into a palace and wealth; however, he chose anything but, embracing the poor and marginalised. How essential it is to our Christian lives that in all the gaudiness of a commercial Christmas we do not lose sight of its true and real significance.
… And a happy and blessed New Year.
Christa Lindner, Linda Stratford, Natasha Tansley
P.S. A very special thank you to all the lovely people at Tate's - Garden Paradise in Newhaven who have provided our beautiful trees for our Benefice this year. As you can see St Peter's Tree is now up (please pop by and visit it!) St Andrews Tree will be up later next week.
This Picture was taken after Reverend Arwen Blessed St Peters Tree. If you would like to bless you own tree download the PDF below.