Posts Tagged ‘Enchanted Christmas’

What are your winter traditions? by Caroline Bennett, Education Officer

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

As part of Westonbirt’s programme of family activities this winter, Westonbirt’s education team have created a trail that explores winter traditions from around the world. Caroline Bennett, Westonbirt’s Education Officer, researched the trail and uncovered some fascinating facts about the trees and plants which are central to so many of these traditions and beliefs.

What are your winter traditions?


Every family follows their own traditions in winter. We polled Westonbirt’s staff and here are some they told us about:

Going on a boat trip every Christmas day to watch brave/crazy people swimming in the sea.

A Welsh grandmother who believed receiving Christmas cards with birds on was bad luck and so burnt every robin, partridge and turtle dove card she received.

To celebrate Chinese new year, one family have a special meal together and exchange gifts of money in red envelopes.

Choosing the ugliest Christmas tree in the shop so that it can still fulfill it’s Christmas destiny.

As a Polish element to Christmas dinner, setting an extra place in case someone in need of food and company turns up on the doorstep.

Bringing the whole family to Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas, of course!

What are your family’s winter traditions?

Useful links
More about family activities at Westonbirt
Become a member of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum
Find out about Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas
Visit the forum to share your winter traditions

What makes a winter wonderland? by Gina Mills, Marketing Support Officer

Friday, November 18th, 2011

The answer to the question “What makes a winter wonderland?” is in no small part “Volunteers”. Along with our learning and participation staff, they’ve today started the task of transforming Westonbirt’s education centre into a winter wonderland for families visiting the Enchanted Christmas – which starts next Friday, 25 November.

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During the event evenings, our team will be working with children and families to help them create Christmas crafts, draw a picture for Santa, find out about winter customs, and learn about the history of Christmas trees.

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The setting for this will be a wonderful snowy, icicled education centre. Today our band of staff and volunteers were working together to install the textured panels which will eventually become a beautiful icy, glittering wall – a backdrop for the many Christmas trees and displays of greenery. Some of the Christmas trees will be supplied by Westonbirt’s Plant Centre when they get their delivery next week. Most will be be sold to the public, but a few are reserved for this winter wonderland. The greenery has come from the arboretum, the varied colours of our evergreens making a vibrant display.

Once the textured panels are in place a local specialist company, well known for creating festive scenes for Hollywood, will come in to make the finishing touches and flourishes which we hope will make this a magical space in the weeks running up to Christmas. This will all be supported by the wonderful creative lighting design that Westonbirt is so well known for at this time of year.

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At the same time as all of this activity, other volunteers have been working on the craft activities that will be on offer during an Enchanted Christmas, creating examples to inspire you to make your own creations and preparing the raw materials for use.

The Enchanted Christmas is open to visitors every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 25 November to 18 December. Find out more and buy tickets on the Enchanted Christmas pages.

Useful links
Enchanted Christmas tickets and info
Become a member of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

A Crazy Normal Day In Education by Caroline Bennett

Friday, November 20th, 2009

It’s not often you can fit 28 children into one puddle, but it has been that sort of week here in education. It has been fairly wet and muddy but we go out in most weather (thunder and lighting the exception) and it can make for excellent photo opportunities like the one described above. This week we have taught children from five different schools, varying in age from 4 to 16, covering topics from energy flow in the food chain to the difference between evergreen and deciduous trees. Just trying to alter my walking speed each day was a challenge in itself!

Many children do not have much opportunity to experience a woodland environment, so being able to show them glades filled with leaves, badger setts and trees from all around the world is a real treat.  My job is nearly always slightly surreal (the way I like it!) and this week is no different. I have found myself filling badger soft toys with hot water, convincing a teenager that he is really a caterpillar, demonstrating the correct use of “magic paint” onto tree bark and trying to teach five year olds how to do a Mexican wave outside the toilet block.

Behind the scenes in the office we have less glamorous tasks to complete, such as confirming bookings and updating the database. Friday will be the day for catching up cleaning the education centre. Christmas is coming and we will be ordering plenty of glitter and collecting buckets of cones to make decorations with.  We’ll be working with 270 children over 4 days next week so it looks like we’ll be fairly busy!