Schools' Christmas Tree Decorating Competition Factsheet

RHS Garden Wisley
Thursday 7 December 2017 - January 2018

Before completing your application, please read through this document. It explains:

  • Theme
  • Participation
  • Restrictions
  • What is provided by the RHS?
  • Set up
  • Take down
  • Further questions

Theme: "A Visit from St Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore

Your pupils should design their tree with this well-loved poem in mind. What is their interpretation of the poem, how does it inspire them and what do they imagine when they read it? Your pupils can be as creative as they like to design a beautiful and original tree that represents the spirit of this poem.

Tips on designing your tree:

  • Pupils could take inspiration for their designs from any part of the poem, for example the parts that they find the most exciting.
  • If you have more than three designs from your pupils, your Head Teacher could select the winning three designs that are submitted to the competition.
  • Think about how you can resource your decorations for free by asking parents for donations, or by recycling items that pupils can then use to create their decorations.
  • Ensure that you have enough time to collect all of the decorations that you will need for display.


Entries are welcome from all primary and secondary schools (pupils aged 5-16) from the South East of England and London (Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, West Sussex, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Greater London, City of London, Surrey and Middlesex).

Schools signed up to the RHS Campagin for School Gardening are eligible to submit designs and apply. If you are not registered yet, it's free and easy to join. Just click here to find out more.

The decorations must be designed and created by pupils and students, not just adults.

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Thursday 19 October 2017.

Restrictions and considerations

Please consider the following when designing your trees:

  • Decorations should not extend past the width or height of the tree by more than 10cm.
  • No edible decorations (e.g. gingerbread, salt dough) should be used.
  • Your decorations should not include anything that relies on a power source (e.g. mains electricity, batteries)
  • Please avoid using a large amount of aerosol-based products (e.g. spray paint, artificial snow spray)
  • The trees will be on display for 6 weeks indoors so we recommend not using living plants unless they are able to survive not being watered.

What is provided by the RHS?

A Christmas tree between 6ft and 7ft tall will be provided and will already be in position ready for decorating.

A printed panel that will show your school’s name, school type and a brief description will also be provided. If your application is successful, we will be in touch to find out this information from you before Thursday 9th November.

Set up

There will be three decorating days at Wisley:

  • Monday 4 December,  10:30am - 3:30pm
  • Tuesday 5 December, 10:30am - 3:30pm
  • Wednesday 6 December, 10:30am - 3:30pm

You may attend one or more of the decorating days. All decorations must be complete and in place by 3:30pm on Wednesday 6 December.

It is entirely up to you as to how many pupils you bring with you. Due to the location of the trees and the number of schools taking part we would recommend limiting your groups to no more than 8-10 pupils. Please ensure that you have enough adults present to supervise your group.

The competition will be held in the Glasshouse Gallery and further details will be sent nearer the date.

Take down

If you would like to keep any of the decorations or items from your tree, there are two days when you will be able to collect these:

  • Monday 8 January, 10:30am - 2:30pm
  • Tuesday 9 January, 10:30am - 2:30pm

Further questions

Please email and we'll be happy to help.

Terms and Conditions:

  • The judges’ decision is final.
  • Please note that entries will not be returned to school premises and will need to be collected. If you wish to collect the contents of your entry you are able to do so on one of the take down days (Monday 8 or Tuesday 9 January 2018, see timings above).
  • Please note that the Christmas tree remains the property of the RHS.

Ready to enter? Head back to the competition page to complete your application.

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