Decking the halls: part 1

So with that ruddy great tree my parents bought from Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm, the time soon came to decorate. A week of ferrying boxes of decorations from the loft and some choice purchases of new lights and all that was left was to get the tree in situ. No easy feet when my parents’ combined height doesn’t even match that of the tree itself.

Catsfield Christmas tree farm Christmas tree

A welder by trade, my dad’s home made Christmas tree stand/contraption has long legs which sprawl out across the floor to counterbalance the towering fir under the weight of the lights and decorations. This year pushed the stand to its limits and one of the legs gave way as the tree was being lashed to the picture rail, so we had to shore up the broken leg with some paperback books. “No elf and safety here” said I. Groan, did they.

Mum and dad’s tree has long been classically styled. Throughout my childhood it was a traditional look of red and gold, then for many years it was an elegant cream and gold scheme. One year it was left up to me and we had gold, fuchsia and purple. That only lasted one year.  Then we had an orange and green look for a couple of years until coming back around to a traditional red, green and gold look for 2012.  And here it is!

Red and gold Christmas tree decorations

920 lights, warrior poses on top of the ladder and 6 hours later and the tree was done.  We celebrated the following day with a party in honour of ma’s birthday and it was lovely to have the house decked out in time.

Next up, the three trees at my house!  Yeah!


Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm, Battle, East Sussex

Catsfield Christmas tree farm

Buying a real Christmas tree is the start of Christmas in my parents’ household and in our typical optimism we’ve always sought the biggest, fattest, most Christmassy Christmas tree we can feast our eyes on. Today has been in the diary as Christmas Tree Day for some time, and although Michael Fish & Co tried best to thwart our plans with flash floods and gales in the Vale, the car was packed with family members as we made our annual pilgrimage to find the perfect Christmas tree.  For three years in a row now we’ve found this at Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm near Battle in East Sussex.  But it hasn’t always been so easy.

Catsfield Christmas tree farm

Let me take you back a number of years where Christmas Tree Day was more like a long weekend or even successive weekends visiting all the local DIY stores, garden centres, that-guy-by-the-motorway and just about anyone else who claimed to have super-sized Christmas trees.  Dad, equipped with his welding gloves, would pull out tree after tree from the confines of its netting to a chorus of cheers, boos or ‘give it a twirl’ from the rest of us. Wagon Wheels, Kinder Eggs and garden centre Christmas trees – they all get smaller as you get older, and the time came when our usual outlets for Christmas trees just weren’t delivering that ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas’ sort of tree.  Time to look further afield.

I think my parents found out about Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm a few years back when they saw a TV show about its owner, Clive Collins. Here’s a clip on the BBC website.

We set off to find the farm which was a lovely day itself – a beautiful drive through the South Downs heading towards Battle.  The farm is easy to find, just situated off a main road and is a wonderful place filled with all sorts of shapes and sizes of Christmas tree, some pruned, some more wild, and the most adorable diddy baby Christmas trees you ever did see.  If you don’t find what you like from the pre-cut selection, you can head out into the farm and pick one yourself.  No need to bring your own axe, though.

Catsfield Christmas tree farm

Back to today, and we pull in to the farm and find it’s closed. Whaaaaat?  Undeterred by signage, we continue along the track and find a gate closed.  But wait, what’s that?  We spy movement in the field so volunteer my brother to hop out in the rain and find out what’s  occurring.  Whatever he said to them did the trick and we were waved over through the exit and into the farm.  The first tree was spotted, it looked like a good’un, and sure enough it was a beaut.  In our own technical lingo, it was a “consistent fat one from top to bottom” and looked dense enough to harbour some squirrels and a woodpecker so we unanimously agreed this was The One.

Catsfield Christmas tree farm

This is an official family record of selecting a Christmas tree in less than 15 minutes.  Personal best.  World record!

Catsfield Christmas tree farm

Leaving my dad, brother and the farm staff to wrestle the tree on to the car roof, my mum, husband and I set off to find it a little brother and settled on a lovely dinky five footer for ourselves.

Catsfield Christmas tree farm

Although the farm had been sort-of-closed that day, Clive even opened up the Christmas Shop for us and we treated ourselves to some decorations and helped ourselves to some Christmas sweets from the tin.

Catsfield Christmas tree farm shop

If you’re thinking about getting a real Christmas tree this year, check out Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm.  Clive and his team are very knowledgable and friendly, and you will not be disappointed.  Unless of course they’re closed, but don’t take that for gospel!

Address: Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm, Catsfield Stream, Battle, East Sussex, TN33 9BB

Tel: 01424 893332