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What makes a Green Father Christmas?

Children asked for their ideas to help launch Westonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas event

Children have the chance to get into the festive spirit a little early this year.

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, which is managed by the Forestry Commission, has created a competition to find two elves to help a special green-costumed Father Christmas launch the Enchanted Christmas illuminated trail on 26 November.

To win the chance to be one of the elves, children aged between 4-12 years old are being asked to design posters showing what they think a green Father Christmas should look like. Entries should be received by 6 November.

The two winners will be invited to join Father Christmas when he opens the event on Friday 26 November. They will win tickets for 10 friends (18 and under) and two accompanying adults to join them.

Two runners up will each win a family pass for two adults and three children for the opening night.

Father Christmas will open the event dressed in a traditional green costume especially for Westonbirt. Historically, Father Christmas wore a green outfit rather than the relatively modern red suit we recognise today.

Julie McKellar, events coordinator, commented:

“Westonbirt is world renowned for its fantastic tree collection. This year Father Christmas will wear his original green colour to celebrate the trees and nature found at the National Arboretum, and we’d like our younger visitors to help us celebrate this by joining in with the poster competition.”

The competition is open between 1 October and 6 November. Entries can be sent to The Editor, Westonbirt Magazine, The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, GL8 8QS, or handed in to the Great Oak Hall at Westonbirt Arboretum. Visit for more details on how to enter.

Father Christmas, his reindeer and the two lucky elves will turn on the lights from 4.45pm on Friday 26 November.

The one mile long Enchanted Christmas illuminated trail is a popular way to see Westonbirt’s trees in winter.

The trail takes in some of the gems of Westonbirt’s collection, highlighting the beauty and shape of the trees. Visitors can also get into the festive spirit with mulled wine, roast chestnuts, and the opportunity to buy gifts and Christmas decorations from the Forest Shop and special Christmas stalls.

Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 26 November to 19 December, from 5 to 8.30pm, with the last entry at 7.15pm.

Admission is adults £8, concessions £7 and children £4. Discounted entry is available for pre-booked groups over 10 people and Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum members receive half price entry on Fridays.

 Advance tickets can be booked online at

The Illuminated Trail is accessible for wheelchairs, and mobility scooters can be booked in advance by calling 01666 881218.

Image attached: Children on the illuminated trail. Credit to Westonbirt Arboretum/ Rob Cousins.

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is part of the Forestry Commission estate and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to the National Japanese Maple (Acer) collection, the National Arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 specimens. Visitor numbers are 350,000 a year, with a membership of 23,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford, and later developed by his son George Holford.  Unlike many arboreta, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria.

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is part of the Westonbirt Heritage Partnership, which consists of the Forestry Commission, Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, Westonbirt School and the Holfords of Westonbirt Trust. The Partnership plans to reconnect the historic Westonbirt estate, conserve its unique heritage and inspire future visitors through the Westonbirt Project, supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum was formed in 1985. The charity’s objects are to support the National Arboretum in promoting public understanding of the crucial role of trees to the environment and society. It is funded by membership receipts from 25,000 members, other fundraising, and the use of the Great Oak Hall for events and activities.  

Source: Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

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