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Hoping our Christmas Tree festival in the church will get me in spirit

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I don’t know about you but I’ve been finding it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit.

Usually at this time of year with the close approach of December, various gears click into place and fairly definite plans come to the forefront.

It’s easy enough, I guess, to blame this on the past 18 months and there are certainly grounds for thinking that way. Personally, I’ve forsaken so many of my usual activities that ‘hibernation’ might be an appropriate word to sum up how things have been for me.

Let there be lights ... Fakenham Parish Church Christmas Tree festival (53208803)
Let there be lights ... Fakenham Parish Church Christmas Tree festival (53208803)

What is a very encouraging and positive factor, especially as we count down the days, is the imminent opening of our 21st Christmas Tree Festival in the parish church.

My involvement in the preparation of this marvelous spectacle has been limited but as my wife is a key member of the organising team there’s been an inevitable inclusion.

You may recall that last year’s event had to be cancelled for obvious reasons, but a Virtual Festival did go ahead. Whilst this was a brave attempt to replicate the real thing and raise some funds, it never came within a mile of what the town has come to expect.

At the time of writing, everything seems to be going according to plan although Fakenham Garden Centre has warned of a delay in delivery of the Christmas trees which it always donates to the church.

These need to be available some days in advance so that they can be set in place and decorated by the 40 or so charities involved.

Let’s hope all goes well so that opening day this Thursday can go ahead. The festival will continue through until the following Thursday, December 2, the daily opening hours set between 10am and 8pm.

The one exception is to allow for the Sunday Festival Service at 10am when the doors will open at noon.

Individual charities have their own collection buckets at the foot of their trees and these are emptied every day. A number of prayer trees are placed in the chancel to which individual prayers may be attached.

There is a lively Christmas Market with a wide variety of seasonal crafts and gifts plus raffle and tombola. Refreshments are available until 5pm. Entrance, as always, is free. Prayers for each of the charities are read out every hour to provide a moment of quiet and reflection.

It has been decided that although mask-wearing will not be mandatory, it will be encouraged and if needs be numbers will be limited to avoid crowding.

By the time we get into the swing of things I’m sure my Christmas spirit will be sky high.

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