Ho! Ho! Ho! Tis the season to be Merry!

We’re well and truly getting into the Christmas mood here at Brocklehursts. The trees are up, and we’re feasting on home-made (by those staff amongst us who can bake!) mince pies. We haven’t started on the mulled wine yet – more’s the shame – although I’m sure that will find its way to Brocklehursts’ Christmas ‘Do’ tonight.

If, however, you should be paying a visit to Bakewell – home of the famous ‘Bakewell Pudding’ – keep a good look out for tiny cut-out Christmas trees as you wander round our historic market-town in the run up to the Bakewell Christmas Tree Fest.

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The ‘fest’ – hosted by our parish church, All Saint’s, runs from 13th – 23rd December. Many local businesses – (Brocklehursts included, of  course) are showing their support for this charitable event by displaying the cut-outs in their windows as well as decorating over 80 illuminated Christmas trees – ‘themed’ to each individual company’s activities.  Without giving anything away, since tweed is definitely ‘in’ this season, there’s no guessing as to the nature of Brocklehursts’ decorations.

Lord Edward Manners, custodian of neighbouring Haddon Hall, together with local children will be performing the lighting ceremony at 7pm on Thursday 13th December.  The ‘fest’ will be open for viewing daily thereafter until 23rd December with recitals & concerts performed by young musicians & schoolchildren. All are invited to enjoy refreshments & mulled wine at what promises to be a ‘sparkling’event.

All this talk about Christmas trees has led me to question the origins of their involvement in our seasonal celebrations …. I wonder also how many of our Brocklehurst customers have ever queried this time-honoured tradition.

Well, apparently …. evergreen trees, wreaths & garlands have been used since time immemorial to symbolize eternal life and were particularly prevalent amongst pagan Scandinavians & North Europeans in their customs of decorating homes during deepest winter as protection against the devil and evil spirits. Evergreens were brought indoors to freshen the air & brighten the mood during the long, dreary hours of winter cold & darkness.

Today, no longer pagan, this tradition survived our conversion to Christianity & was adopted by wealthy bourgeois families – the trees being decorated with apples, nuts, dates & paper flowers – gifts at Christmas for children & servants.  As years went on wax candles were used to adorn the trees of the wealthy & aristocracy but the inevitable fire risk & the advent of electricity into even the poorest homes put an end to this practice – for all but the very brave & well insured!

The tradition of decorating trees at Christmas was introduced into Britain through our association with Germany during George III’s reign in the early 1800s. By the second half of Queen Victoria’s reign the custom had become even more widespread throughout England through her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert.

Since the early 20th Century ‘public’ Christmas trees displayed outdoors have become commonplace and many represent special commemorative gifts, such as the one in Trafalgar Square in London – which is presented annually by Norway as a token of appreciation for the British support of the Norwegian resistance during World War II.

More recently, Festival of Trees, such as the Bakewell Christmas Tree Fest, displaying lots of decorated trees are organised as charitable events and we, at Brocklehursts, will definitely be ‘raising a glass’ to ours tonight!

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And, if you can’t make it to Bakewell over the festive season, hopefully, you too will find a similar event to appreciate nearer home?!

Our compliments of the season …… ENJOY!

 

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