2017 Christmas Tree Entries Open!

2016-12-10 10.04.18Yippee – only 12 weeks and one day to go until this year’s Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival on 9 and 10 December 2017 and we’re delighted to announce that you can now enter your trees for this year!

As usual anyone can enter a tree free of charge and we welcome adult, child, individual and group/company entries. You can find out all about this year’s entry arrangements and make your entry online by clicking here.

Festival Breaks Records

2016-12-10-10-04-22Press Report – The 2016 edition of Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival, which took place over the weekend of 10th and 11th December, brought record numbers of visitors from as far afield as Australia and Lithuania flocking to the town’s 13th Century All Saints’ church. With some 100 trees on display, of which more than 70 had been entered for the Festival competition by members of the local community, the church offered a sumptuous visual feast for visitors.

Around 2,300 people visited the church during the Festival and a further 560 people attended one of the three associated evening concerts, bringing the total number of visitors to a record breaking 2,860. Alongside the spectacular trees, visitors were able to pick up unusual and often handmade decorations, gifts and goodies in the Gift Shop and Pantry, listen to live music from a host of volunteer performers, enjoy delicious homemade refreshments, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, and for the children there were special competitions and the chance to meet one of the Nativity shepherds.

The standard of the entries was particularly high this year with some truly innovative designs from entrants of all ages. This year’s official charity tree was presented by Acorn Village, a residential community based in Mistley which provides a secure future for people with learning difficulties, whose residents also provided some of the live musical entertainment during the Festival.

On arrival each visitor is given a competition judging form and asked to vote for their favourite trees. The competition winners this year were:

Child individual
Isabelle’s Christmas Tree –  Isabelle Day

Child group
Owl I want for Christmas – Brightlingsea Junior School

Child/Runners-up (Highly Commended)
It all begins with ABC – Childminding Group and
A Fishmas Tree –  Brightlingsea Infant School Kids Club & Nursery

Adult individual
Angel Delight – Zoe Aldridge

Adult group
A Christmas Tree-t – WoolyBuly Craft Group

Adult/Runners-up (Highly Commended)
Notes on a Tree  – “Sing Brightlingsea”  and
Helping Hands at the Heart of the Community – First Responders

As well as providing a much loved festive community event, Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival plays an important part in helping to fund the upkeep of Brightlingsea’s two Anglican churches, All Saints’ where the festival is held and its sister church St James’ in the town centre. Current priorities for fundraising include essential restoration work on All Saints’ church tower, which was built in 1250, and construction of permanent toilet and kitchen facilities to ensure AllSaints’ can be used as widely as possible for appropriate community events as well as formal services. The Festival has raised almost £100,000 since it was launched in 2003 and this year’s event is expected to add around £11,000 to that total.
The 2017 Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival will take place on the weekend of December 9th and 10th. Further information about the event can be found at  www.brightlingseachristmastreefestival.co.uk.

Winners Photo Gallery

And here are our 2016 Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival winners in all their glory! We’ll have more images for you in a bit, but for now enjoy our winning trees.

Child individual 


Isabelle’s Christmas Tree Isabelle Day

Child group 


Owl I want for Christmas Brightlingsea Junior School

Child/Runners-up (Highly Commended) 


It all begins with ABC Childminding Group and


A Fishmas Tree  Brightlingsea Infant School Kids Club & Nursery

Adult individual


Angel Delight Zoe Aldridge

Adult group 

woolbulycraftgroupA Christmas Tree-t WoolyBuly Craft Group

Adult/Runners-up (Highly Commended) 


Notes on a Tree Sing Brightlingsea and


Helping Hands at the Heart of the Community  First Responders

And The Winners Are…..

2016-12-10-10-04-22Congratulations to our 2016 Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival winners who are:


Child individual Isabelle’s Christmas Tree Isabelle Day

Child group Owl I want for Christmas Brightlingsea Junior School

Child/Runners-up (Highly Commended) It all begins with ABC Childminding Group and A Fishmas Tree  Brightlingsea Infant School Kids Club & Nursery

Adult individual Angel Delight Zoe Aldridge

Adult group A Christmas Tree-t WoolyBuly Craft Group

Adult/Runners-up (Highly Commended) Notes on a Tree Sing Brightlingsea and Helping Hands at the Heart of the Community  First Responders


Quiz 8/11: Gracie Hempstead-Smith, age 11; Megan Plummer, age  9

Quiz 5/7: Cody Buck , age 7; Sullivan French, age 5

Guess the Lamb’s Name : Marie Murphy, age 5 – Lamb’s name “ Angel”

Vivien Chapman

Bev Aldridge

Bob and Rose Gudger

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

2016-12-11-10-06-03What a weekend it’s been.  With record visitor numbers (2299 to be precise), spectacularly creative trees, a host of live entertainment, Christmas gifts and goodies galore, enough home made cake to feed an army and the most wonderful festive atmosphere you could hope for, it has been a truly exceptional edition of Brightlingsea’s beloved Christmas Tree Festival.

There are just too many people involved in making this event possible to thank them all by name, but to everyone who created a tree, helped organise and keep the show on the road, entertained us royally, kept us fed and watered, and came to All Saints’ to view and judge the trees we say a huge heart felt thank you.

Once again the incomparable Chris Bloor closed the Festival with a family carols singalong which saw the church bursting at the seams and people standing (and dancing!) in the aisles. In a few hours we will have the results of the voting and further updates for you, but in the meantime we’ll let the massed voices of the All Saints’ congregation sing us out in style with their very own rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

What A Wonderful First Day!

wp-image-272350037jpg.jpgWhat a wonderful first day we’ve had at the Festival.  More than 1000 people have visited, we’ve had some terrific live entertainment from a host of volunteer musicians and singers, the refreshments team have done us proud with home made cakes, endless cups of tea and coffee, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine, the Gift Shop and Pantry have been doing roaring trade all day, and the Christmas Trees, individually decorated by members of our community, have been spectacular

wp-image-1058648934jpg.jpgThe Festival was opened by our visiting shepherd, who spent the rest of the day chatting to the children about his nativity story. We’ve had a visit from members of the Acorn Village community, this year’s official charity, who also provided  some lovely musical entertainment. Mr Dickerson and his amazing musical organ greeted visitors as they arrived at the church from late morning until mid afternoon.

The day was rounded off by the traditional Festival Gala Concert, sponsored this year by Brightlingsea Boat Park & Ride, where the sell out audience enjoyed a very special programme of festive music and a veritable feast of delicious canapés.

wp-image-1181815577jpg.jpgAfter such a wonderful day there’s only one thing for it… we’ll have to do it all again tomorrow!  The Festival will be open from 10am to 6pm on Sunday 11 December and this year’s festivities will conclude with the traditional family carols singalong at 6pm so do please come and see the trees for yourselves and and enjoy the truly unique atmosphere of our beautiful St James’s Church at this time of year.