Christmas Tree Decorating Competition Winners

See the ten beautiful winning Christmas tree designs on display at RHS Garden Wisley

For the first ever Christmas Tree Decorating Competition, schools in the South East were invited to submit their best designs for a Fairy Tale-themed tree.

Ten winning designs were picked and at the beginning of December, pupils from the chosen schools came to RHS Garden Wisley to decorate their allocated trees with their handmade decorations.

The trees will be on display in the famous Wisley Glasshouse throughout December until 05 January 2017 as part of the Christmas Glow at Wisley event.

See the winning designs below and see more photos on our Facebook page.

Ashurst Wood Primary School, West Sussex


"Starting at the bottom of the tree, all the colours are grey/black and blue to show Cinderella in the kitchens and working for her step mother. As you look up the tee the colours start to change, showing that she is changing into Cinderella and all over the tree are items she would have used, for example the broom and dustpan, the silver shoes and tiara.

The other decorations are made from wood at the school's Forest School sessions and are there to show the magic happening during the story (including lots of glitter!) Finally as you reach the top of the tree the colours are bright and cheerful and show Cinderella as the princess. You may be able to spot some of the animals that helped her on her journey too


Bosham Primary School, West Sussex

Hansel and Gretel

"We are Bosham Primary School Gardening Club.  While our winter cabbages are growing we have been busy making our Christmas tree decorations.  We collected driftwood and pebbles from the beech and pine cones from the woods.
We chose Hansel and Gretel because it has a little bit of everything…a deep dark wood, a moonlit path, a house made of sweets and of course… PLENTY OF MAGIC!


Corelli College, London


Through the tradition and conventions of pantomime, fairy tale stories and their characters are often transformed to fit the present day with topical humour, audience participation and gender-crossing roles. The stories are usually decorated with puns and are a humorous play on words. As there is a strong tradition of an annual staff pantomime for students at Corelli College, so it was the symbolism of pantomime objects and larger than life characters that excited Corelli students. 
KS3 Students, with support from student volunteers in KS4 & 5 researched traditional pantomime characters and started to draw them. We then enlarged their drawings to lifesize using an ‘old school’ overhead projector and photographed their teachers wearing the drawn cutouts. We decided that everything would be monochrome and hand drawn to emphasise their teachers being photographed and to invent the fanciful and illusory nature of pantomime and the magic of storytelling for the stage. Each photograph is framed by a mirror, mirror on the wall…


Cumnor House School for Girls, Surrey

The Nutcracker

"Our tree tells the story of the Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann, it reads from the bottom to the top. The decorations have been made from pages of the book by all 3 key stages of the school. We wanted to involve as many children as we could.
At the bottom are all the Christmas presents. The main character in the book is a little girl called Marie Stahlbaum. Her favourite Christmas present is the Nutcracker, who comes alive and as we move up the tree his battle with the evil Mouse King begins.
At the top is the kingdom of sweets. When the Nutcracker’s curse is broken he whisks Marie away to this magical land, where they live happily ever after.
Finally, the Sugarplum fairy completes our story. We have added to her dress by printing text from the pages of the book. This was done by the student who provided the inspiration behind our design.


Dulwich College Junior School, London

Forest Fairy Tales

Our design is based on two favourite fairy tales that are set in the forest; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Hansel and Gretel. The children chose these as they know and love the stories and were keen to recreate the characters. But they also wanted there to be a connection with the natural world as they are all enthusiastic gardeners.
Many of our decorations are made from living materials collected from our school garden including leaves, twigs and fir cones, decorated of course with plenty of glitter. After all it is Christmas! The project encouraged their creativity and helped them to see how important the natural world is in a new way. Decorating the tree has been such fun and the children are very proud of the finished result. We hope you enjoy looking at the tree, as much as we enjoyed creating it.


Hurst Lodge School, Surrey

The Story of Anansi

West Africans originally considered Anansi – both a spider and a person – to be the creator of the world. He acted as a go-between for humans and the sky god Nyame,
persuading Nyame to give rain and night to the people.”
Anansi was our inspiration. We cut stars into clay and decorated them using designs inspired by Africa. We learnt about ceramic processes and how clay is fired and glazed in a kiln. Abstract interpretations and bright colours were key in creating something different and magical. We used African patterns and colours to identify and inspire unique designs. Spirals represent the spider whilst geometric patterns are symbols of spider webs and fragments of imagination. We chose this design to learn about different cultural stories and to move away from making traditional Christmas decorations. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them.


St Peter's Primary School, West Sussex


For this tree we took ideas from the original fairy-tale and the Disney film Tangled. 
The yellow garland wrapped around the tree like tinsel represents Rapunzel’s hair falling down from a junk box tower. The lanterns are included because in the film she had always wanted to see them.
We have made stars with pictures in that show key moments in Rapunzel’s life. We have also wrapped ivy around the pot of the tree, like the ivy around Rapunzel’s tower in the story. We also included the prince climbing Rapunzel’s hair. Can you spot him?


St Peter's Primary School, West Sussex


We chose Bambi as a theme for our tree because it is quite wintery in the story which reminded us of Christmas and we thought it was an original idea.

We created antlers at the top to show that Bambi grew onto a large stag.  We have also included some of the main characters from the story, a young Bambi, Thumper and the skunk.  Baubles have been painted with white spots to look like the pattern on Bambi and we have made a golden leaf garland to look like tinsel and, included flowers and butterflies to represent the beauty of the forest. The pot at the base of the tree has been decorated to look like ice to remind us of when Bambi kept slipping on the frozen pond.


St Thomas More RC Primary School, Kent

Little Red Riding Hood

When we received the invitation to enter the competition, we invited the whole school to take part. Every child submitted a design based on their favourite traditional tale, and although it was very difficult, we eventually chose the three we liked the best. The inspiration for our winning design was Little Red Riding Hood.
After much deliberation and an amalgamation of ideas, created by staff and children, we chose to use coloured tinsel for the sky and the path. Our hanging decorations are made from card with individual decorative ideas chosen by the children. We have made some of our baubles in 3D to add depth to our designs.


Warninglid Primary School, West Sussex

The Elves and the Shoemaker

We chose ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’, based on the 1965 Ladybird Series, because of its charming story and beautiful illustrations.
This term we started regular ‘Forest Schools’ sessions and we have sourced a wide selection of natural materials for our decorations as a by-product from our woodland escapades. We wanted to keep true to the original illustrations from the book and explored other natural, traditional decorations. We looked on the internet and came up with dried fruits, pine cones, seeds, nuts, hessian, raffia and popped corn.
Our recently appointed Eco-Committee crosses over into Gardening Club and we thought about re-cycling and up-cycling things that would otherwise be thrown away. We raided the school resource room for material scraps and sent letters home asking for any unwanted haberdashery items. We wanted the focus to be on the beautiful shoes and who made them.

Competition details

See the full details of the competition here.

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