It’s THAT time of year again, December comes round so fast and Christmas is almost upon us. Today Mr PP and I went out to buy our tree and also to do “something festive”. Actually we did two “festive” things, first we made a visit to the Christmas Tree Festival at St Nicolas Church in Cranleigh. This is the first tree festival at this church (I think) and they had 50 trees donated by local Christmas Tree grower Santa Fir (where I bought my own tree) which were then decorated in various ways by local families, community groups and schools. The ingenuity and humour expressed through the decorations was fabulous and the whole made for a delightful and interesting way to spend an hour, while also giving time to think about Christmas. Some of my favourite trees are shown below…
My favourite Tree – The Knitted Tree by the Lock family
Cranleigh Arts Centre – Knitting Around the Christmas Tree
Cranleigh Physio – Cranfold’s Cracking Christmas (them bones, them bones…)
The Money-Tree by the Woodhams family (the images are all of Chancellors of the Exchequer)
Cranleigh CofE Primary – The Litera-Tree
Later in the afternoon we visited Standen House a National Trust property near East Grinstead (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/standen-house-and-garden), a fine Arts and Crafts house which has dressed its rooms for Christmas in the style of Christmasses for each decade since it was built. I have seen Christmas decorations at Standen in the past, but this year they are very good with some excellent information available without that intruding on the display. Lighting is always very low at Standen due to the delicate nature of the furnishings so it is ideally suited to a festive setting. Here are a few pictures of some of the decorations…
Cute vintage knitted teddy
1960’s decorated room
1960’s decorated tree
1980’s decorated tree
Hilarious but somewhat scary Santa costume worn by Mr Beale in the early 20th century
Light bulb installation at the end of a corridor
Contemporary Tree with Robins
Outside the house this year is a special decoration, a tree dressed by the fashion designer Zandra Rhodes and artist Andrew Logan. I had been really looking forward to seeing this tree as I had read and heard much hype about it. Honestly, I was SO disappointed. I was expecting something really “WOW”, funky, clever and innovative. What I saw is a mess. A tree swathed in neon pink plastic with orange painted plastic mirrors and other ‘junk’ attached. Many of the decorations have been made by students from recycled materials and found objects, but this does not mean that they are actually any good. In this case, quite the opposite. I am sure there is a deeper meaning connected to the trashiness of Christmas linked to consumption and excess and some sort of comment on the loss of the “true meaning of Christmas”. Frankly, it is rubbish and really only fit for landfill, if that weren’t such a paradox. It is a shame that such high profile artists can only come up with what can only be described as a “Dogs Breakfast”. DISAPPOINTED.
Tawdry Trashy Tree detail, so disappointing.
Some of the trees at the church in Cranleigh were funnier, edgier and more politically aware in a Contemporary Christmassy way than the hideous pink nightmare at Standen. It just goes to show that being famous doesn’t guarantee great work!