Welcome to the world of one-place studies! Twenty-six of our members are sharing something in their particular place for this year's A-Z Blogging Challenge. Janet Few shares a Christmas tale blending the old and new.

Apologies to anyone who is offended by the use of the abbreviated form of Christmas but X is always a tricky one. I thought I would use it as an opportunity to tell you about our one-place Christmas Tree. Back in October, it was decided that our village should stage a Christmas tree competition and exhibition in the local church during the Christmas season. Each club, organisation and institution in the village was invited to display a small tree that was to be decorated to reflect their activities. The bell-ringers were clearly on to a winner here as they could cover their tree in bells. Trying to think of a history group theme was much harder. We debated using vintage ornaments but the value of these was a deterrent, as they had to be left unattended in the church.

In the end, we decided to make our own decorations. We set small photographs of former residents of the parish in seasonal borders, printed these out and laminated them. We wanted viewers to be able to identify the people in the photos and were originally going to put their names on the reverse side of the picture. We did feel that this might encourage people to tug at the decorations with disastrous results, so in the end we put Christmassy pictures on the reverse of the photographs and provided a key, which was laid by the pot. Our ‘tree’ was to be twigs to give us ample hanging room and we decided to fill a large pot with sand to anchor the branches. There was a slight hitch when a sharp frost rendered the pile of damp sand that we were going to use frozen solid but the earth that we substituted worked well.

We were very pleased with the finished tree and honoured to be voted in to joint first place by those who came to look at the trees. This is a wonderful way of gently exposing the wider community to their history and heritage; please feel free to use our idea if you get the opportunity. Quite what we can come up with if there is another competition next year I don’t know.

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