Christmas Tree

Lamp Chop brought up an interesting question.

When does your congregation put up a Christmas Tree?

Our congregation put up its artificial tree after Christ the King Sunday

This last Sunday it was just empty.

Next Sunday it will have lights

The Third Sunday will have Chrismons

Can't remember what the fourth Sunday has, though.

We also have an advent wreath. This year we actually had a pre advent workshop and made Advent wreaths for some of the families in the congregation.

Comments

  • No tree yet - it'll probably appear (fully decorated) in time for the Carol Service on 15th December. It usually lives in our spacious porch.

    The Advent Wreath was blessed, and the first candle lit, last Sunday. It stands near the altar, for all to see, and someone from the congregation is invited each week to light the candle of the day.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Our advent wreath stands over the baptismal font at the entrance to the sanctuary.
  • December 24. Any earlier than that makes the Baby Jesus cry. ( He won't show up to cry until the night of the 24th, but He'll know!)
  • john holdingjohn holding Ecclesiantics Host, Mystery Worshipper Host
    Christmas tree in church? In the narthex, in the hall, on the walk leading into the building -- well then yes. But this year at last the decision has been made: no tree in church. We have enough trouble decorating while respecting Advent as it is.
  • In time for the carol services
  • I like the idea of slowly decorating the church as Advent progresses. Here I'd like to have the tree up in time for the Carol Service (usually the Sunday before Christmas), however we have a major Christmas charity event with local schools on the first Friday of December so the tree goes up for that and there's not much point taking it down again!
  • One church had its (artificial) tree up for Monday night when we were participating in Light Up the Highlands - simultaneous services following roughly the same pattern organised by the Highland Hospice and designed to remember those we have lost. Every community tailors the outline to suit (another of my villages does it outside and it includes the lighting of the village tree: it was pretty wet this year). My highlight was when people were hanging cardboard stars on the tree with the names of those they were remembering and then "lighting" an electric tea light, I saw one old man holding his tea light to the "flame" of another to try to catch the light! (I quietly sorted it out...)

    My other two churches will put up their trees when they arrive- they are given every year by one of the local estates, and they come when they come. Last year far too early, but this year no sign yet.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    edited December 5
    St Obscure's trees were up but undressed on Tuesday evening. There is something really Adventy about having dark green conifers either side of the high altar dressed in purple without a bauble in sight. I hope we manage not to dress them until after Sunday but I am not holding my breath. They will be decorated by the following Sunday as that is when we have our main Carol Service.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Our Christmas tree festival starts today so the church is now full of trees, though they will be removed by the shops and organisations who donated them. It really kicks off the Christmas stuff and few seem to care about Advent now, despite those of us who would wish to. The festival ends with a Carol service. Too early!
    Tree proper goes up normally before the last Sunday before Christmas.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    After the final Mass on 4th Sunday of Advent.
    Though it eludes me why a church should have such a pagan symbol in it.
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    After the final Mass on 4th Sunday of Advent.
    Though it eludes me why a church should have such a pagan symbol in it.

    I would refer you to the story of St Boniface (Winfrith) who on a missionary journey through what is now known as Holland and Germany, came across a group of pagans worshiping at a "sacred oak". To prove the falseness of their religion, Boniface and his companions chopped down the oak which was ancient and hollow. Inside the hollow was a small fir tree. Boniface used this as an opportunity to preach about the new life in Christ etc., and made a number of coverts.
    There is a sacred (or fairy oak) in Burnham Beeches near Windsor. This tree is definitely hollow, and from the fence surrounding it you can see brambles and other growth in the hollow part of the tree.
  • Sorry, I should have said that this story is the origin of the Christmas tree as we now know it.
  • I also think that, even if it's a pagan symbol, that's a "dead metaphor" for 99% of people. Having a Christmas tree is simply "something that one has", like a wedding cake or Easter eggs.
  • Just a tangent. The Christmas before Mrs CD (the Vicar dearest) and I left our last parish, I installed a real Christmas tree in the living room, despite the risk of having to sweep up pine needles for the rest of eternity, or until the new Vicar arrived. This caused much rejoicing from one our dogs as he thought we had now installed indoor plumbing for him! Fortunately he is a small dog and we were able to put the tree on a raised stand.
  • Yes, cats do not seem to recognise artificial trees as proper trees and are less likely to try to climb them!
  • We get ours - real not artificial - recycled from our local primary school, so it's hauled over at the end of term. On Christmas Eve we have a children's service in the afternoon, by which time the tree is (re)decorated and people have been putting presents under it to distribute to a local charity. It stays up until after our Epiphany service.
  • Three congregations, three different things.

    One congregation was already decorated for Christmas - artificial greenery, lights, Chrismons, and no less than five(!) nativity scenes scattered through the building and grounds, before Christ the King Sunday, because they're participating in a local community open-house kind of thing and they wanted to make sure they'd have enough time to get set up.

    One will put up trees after the last Mass on Advent IV, and one I don't think puts up a Christmas tree at all, or if they do, it's also after Advent IV.

    AFAIK, all of them will leave their decorations up until some convenient time after the Epiphany.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited December 5
    The Lutherans left us an artificial tree which will be pressed into service, probably by being put in the bay window facing Main. I discovered last year that the bally Christmas trees on either side of the altar more than got in the way. I think that they must have celebrated communion on the Dedalus altar all the way through Advent as they had a crib set up on the altar. I think the girls have already decided where ours is going - but they haven't told me where! Needless to say that it won't be on the altar.

    The rule on Christmas decorations with us is that they go up after evening service on the Fourth Sunday in Advent. I do not know whether that will be Sunday evening or Tuesday morning this year. They come down in stages - Christmas tree comes down at Epiphany, but the crib may well hang around until Candlemas, or at least until the Sunday in the Octave of Epiphany.
  • Tree up lights and decorations on. Schools activity in the church this week
  • We have a Christmas tree on one side and a crib on the other along with advent candles. The advent candles are up already but the other stuff will go up when the person who does it gets round to it.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Our congregation would get huge cut trees from the farm of one of our sainted members. He sold his property so that source disappeared. We also found that while one can keep a cut tree fresh for two weeks, by the end of the Christmas Season, the cut tree would be dangerously dry. We had no choice but to go artificial.

    The down side to this decision is that we used to use the trunk of the Christmas tree as the cross for Lent. We resolved that by having the carpenters in our congregation make a cross that can be used every year.
  • Both trees put up on the afternoon of the last Sunday in Advent to greet people coming to the carol service. However, only decorated with plain white lights: other decorations are added on Christmas Eve.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Lamp Chop brought up an interesting question.

    When does your congregation put up a Christmas Tree?

    We decorate the church for Christmas right after the Advent 4 service. The Ladies who Know Where Everything Is and their band of assistants will have assembled the decorations in the hall beforehand, and after the service there are plenty of hands to hand decorations.

    The (artificial) Christmas trees also come out of storage and go up earlier that day.
  • Usually there rule hereabouts is that trees, crib etc do not go out until Advent 4 is fully over. Our carol service is Christmas Eve, so unless Advent 4 is Christmas Eve, there's no conflict. (If 24th Dec is a Sunday, nothing goes out until after mass on Advent 4, then it's up in time for the Crib & Carol services).

    For some reason I've yet to fathom, the animals have already made an appearance at the back of the church this year. I'm led to believe they're staying put, & the Holy family will not put in an appearance until Advent 4 is complete (at which point they'll all re-locate in front of the altar. Il Bambino meanwhile appears in the crib at 00:00 on Christmas day.
    This often leads to sacristy panic... where's the baby... where did you put the baby?
  • In my last church we had three "kings" about four feet high who slowly made their way from the church door to the crib during Advent and up to Epiphany. I liked the idea but not the figures themselves!
  • The wise men come from the East....
    So they start their journey by the high altar and make their way west towards the crib (in front of the nave altar), arriving at Epiphany.
  • We didn't bother about the compass points, although our pulpit and communion table were in fact in the east end.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    kingsfold wrote: »
    The wise men come from the East....
    So they start their journey by the high altar and make their way west towards the crib (in front of the nave altar), arriving at Epiphany.

    In our church "wise men com(ing) from the East" would be starting out from the disabled toilet, or the parish hall kitchenette. The church is aligned roughly north-south with the altar at the south end. :D
  • A church I attended many years ago had wide windowsills along one side wall (I have no idea of the geographical direction; it would have been liturgical south). On Advent 1, Mary and Joseph and donkey started out on the furthest-back window sill. Over the next few weeks they worked their way forwards until they arrived at the stable in front of the Altar, where animals had gradually made their appearance, on Christmas Eve. I can't remember when the shepherds showed up, but on Christmas the Wise Men began their journey to Bethlehem on the furthest-back window sill.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    For Epiphany we have a chili lunch (spice, get it). During the lunch, we give out little cupcakes (Kings' cakes), three of which will have a figurine in them. The people that get those figurines in effect become the Wise (People) for the year. Those people then lead the congregation to the front of the church and give a blessing for the church. It is very similar to this.
  • In my last ‘regular’ setting (vs temporary fill-in) Mary & Joseph, etc. slowly crept from window sill to window sill, as Pigwidgeon noted above. An unadorned fresh cut tree appeared on Advent 4 (or Advent 3 if Advent 4 came a bit too close to Christmas). The bulletin that Sunday noted that it would be decorated Christmas Eve by parishioners bringing in new hats, gloves, mittens and scarves to be donated to those in need at the overnight shelter run by the Baptist church down the block. It was a delight to see the branches sag with warming clothing (some added sweaters into the mix) in honor of the Feast.
  • I like the idea of slowly decorating the church as Advent progresses.
    As do I. Alas, I seem to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness on that point. Most decorations were up for Advent I, including a 15+ foot artificial tree with white lights and white and gold Chrismons, candles in the windows and wreaths on the doors. At least the wreaths have purple bows, which will be switched out for gold on the 24th. Everything will remain up through Epiphany.

    Also up is the Moravian star, hanging over the center of the chancel. That does not bother me—by tradition they go up the first Sunday of Advent and stay up through Epiphany.

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    BabyWombat wrote: »
    In my last ‘regular’ setting (vs temporary fill-in) Mary & Joseph, etc. slowly crept from window sill to window sill, as Pigwidgeon noted above. An unadorned fresh cut tree appeared on Advent 4 (or Advent 3 if Advent 4 came a bit too close to Christmas). The bulletin that Sunday noted that it would be decorated Christmas Eve by parishioners bringing in new hats, gloves, mittens and scarves to be donated to those in need at the overnight shelter run by the Baptist church down the block. It was a delight to see the branches sag with warming clothing (some added sweaters into the mix) in honor of the Feast.

    A very good idea. I am going to bounce it off the pastor this Sunday. Maybe we can get it in motion for this Advent.
  • Christmas tree is up in narthex, each Sunday as people leave they are asked to take a Christmas ball out of a basket and place it on the tree. The church is greening up as well. The idea being by Christmas it will be trimmed in full. In my youth many a year ago, no trimmed trees allowed in church, but rear of altar was filled with untrimmed trees and holly, also chains of greens were hung the all along the walls of the church. All of this was done after 4th Sunday in Advent.
  • The church has a Christmas Tree Festival in Advent, so the church is full of decorated trees. But by Christmas Day only one tree is left - the biggest.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    We have a Chrismon tree every year. A large, floor-to-ceiling real tree from a local grower. It went up on Friday in time for the Christmas fair.

    🌲
  • Jengie Jon wrote: »
    St Obscure's trees were up but undressed on Tuesday evening. There is something really Adventy about having dark green conifers either side of the high altar dressed in purple without a bauble in sight. I hope we manage not to dress them until after Sunday but I am not holding my breath. They will be decorated by the following Sunday as that is when we have our main Carol Service.

    Just missed it, the lights went on after the mass on Saturday morning but I suspect no poinsettias until next Saturday. Oh this year the lights are white only.

  • Hookers_TrickHookers_Trick Admin Emeritus
    I was in the West Country last week and was surprised to see four great huge trees in Exeter Cathedral by the first Sunday of Advent. With lights but no decorations.
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