Branch out and dress a tree

It’s easy to forget that trees stand up for us in all seasons and weathers – tirelessly working to provide us with cleaner air, stronger soil, shelter, food, building materials and more.

All this before you take into consideration that they are beautiful life-forms and it is fun, relaxing and inspiring to spend time with them! Tree Dressing Day is celebrated in the first weekend of December every year by those who want to take a moment to show their appreciation for all that trees do for us. Up and down the country, people of all ages get together with friends and family to make decorations and adorn the trees in their streets, gardens or local parks and woods.

The Spinney Project

Last weekend, hundreds of people turned out on a cold and rainy day in The Spinney, a community woodland in Lincolnshire, to celebrate Tree Dressing Day.

The Spinney Project was originally conceived by local resident Dr Patrick Candler as a play space for local young people, transforming an overgrown piece of wasteland, formerly used as a source of clay for the local brickyard. A successful bid to the Millennium Commission made the idea a reality, and over the past 15 years, the site – run by local volunteers through The Bythams Woodland Trust - has gradually become more and more central to the life of locals of all ages.

Spinney Treedressing Mattlarsen Daw Intext1
Making decorations

The event was a reminder of how Tree Dressing Day can be more than a personal demonstration of love for trees – it is a chance for the whole community who benefit from those same trees to come together and celebrate the leafy friends they all have in common. It’s also a chance for communities to reflect their social and cultural history with the trees that have witnessed the passing generations.

At the Spinney, local environmental artist Jo Hammond helped families make their own ‘twig arches’ to decorate the trees in the Spinney – a reminder of the brickworks that used to use land that now offers a place for locals to relax and unwind. Others made baby owls from pine cones and cotton wool - a great idea for Christmas decorations for all ages! After creating our masterpieces and choosing a tree to adorn, what better way to warm up cold fingers than a steaming hot chocolate by the roaring firepit?

Spinney Treedressing Mattlarsen Daw Intext2
Dressing the tree

Dr Patrick Candler, Chairman of the Bythams Woodland Trust said:

"Our fourth Tree Dressing Day was our busiest and best yet, attracting local villagers and other visitors from miles around. What is so good about our Tree Dressing is that everyone gets involved to create their own decoration designs which they can then put up in the Spinney or take them home for their own trees. And with lots of home made soup and luxury cakes and chocolates to keep everyone warm and fed, what a wonderful way to spend a chilly November day. We already have lots of folk asking when we are going to organise next year’s event!"

If you missed out on attending a Tree Dressing this weekend, remember that any day is a good day to show your appreciation for a tree in your life! Just remember – take your decorations down afterwards, or use biodegradable materials that won’t create litter or harm wildlife.