By Charlotte Owen
Last weekend I was decorating a tree – perhaps not such an unusual activity at this time of year, except that this wasn’t a Norway Spruce or Douglas Fir and definitely wouldn’t fit inside the house.
Instead, I spent a sunny afternoon in the garden brightening up the bare branches of our apple tree with painted pinecones, wooden stars and red ribbons. The concept of tree dressing has its origins in the many ancient legends, customs and traditions from around the world that have celebrated the importance of trees through the centuries. Many of these live on today, most noticeably at Christmas – which just wouldn’t be Christmas without the all-important tree.
So we are no stranger to the notion of decorating trees, and Tree Dressing Day extends this to the normal, every-day trees we might often pass by without a second thought – especially during the winter, with their leafless limbs. The idea is to decorate your chosen tree with whatever takes your fancy, although it will need to be as waterproof as possible to withstand our winter weather. I used surplus natural-looking Christmas decorations and added some coconut feeders for the birds, which were immediately popular with blue tits, great tits and robins. You could wrap the branches in coloured wool, make leaves from felt or other fabric, hang jam jar lanterns or use coloured beads, ribbon, string and natural objects like twigs, feathers and dried fruit to make your decorations and celebrate your favourite tree.