Follow the Star : the 2016 Edinburgh Christmas Tree Festival


Follow the Star – 10-24 December at St Andrew’s and St George’s West, George Street.

Find the real Christmas story in the heart of Edinburgh – everyone welcome. Free entry, donations to Edinburgh Direct Aid, Health in Mind and Richmond’s Hope.

Here are some special moments from the 2015 Festival – thanks to all who contributed.

Follow the Star is the theme of the seventh Edinburgh Christmas Tree Festival at St Andrew’s and St George’s West in the centre of Edinburgh. 40 Christmas Trees light up the oval Georgian sanctuary, each sponsored and decorated by a local business, charity or group. There will be live music from local choirs and musicians most days, and a late night meditative opening. Entry is free. Visitors are welcome to make a donation which is shared between local charities. This year the Festival is delighted to support

Edinburgh Direct Aid is an all volunteer charity helping people caught up in disasters worldwide, currently the refugees in Lebanon fleeing war in Syria

Health in Mind One in four of us will experience mental health problems. Health in Mind is Edinburgh’s mental health charity, supporting people with information, counselling and befriending.

Richmond’s Hope provides a city wide service for bereaved children 4-18. Using therapeutic play and activities children can explore the impact of grief on their lives.


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This Christmas, go east along George Street to St Andrew’s and St George’s Church where Edinburgh’s Christmas Tree Festival opens on Friday 9 December. Among the 40 Christmas trees which say “Follow the Star”, are some very unusual ones. Edinburgh Direct Aid’s tree is decorated with stars and tiny cedar trees made of wool by Syrian refugee widows living in Lebanon. Richmond Hope’s tree is decorated with stars of hope by children who have lost someone dear to them and find Christmas a very difficult time. Health in Mind’s Tree of Stars is decorated with ideas of how to keep well in mind and body over Christmas.

The church is open usually from 10 until 6 from Saturday 10 December until 24 December, Christmas Eve, and entry is free. The purpose of the Festival is to bring the true Christmas home to people, through peaceful space, beauty and light, with live music from choirs, schools and individual musicians. Donations go to three local charities – Edinburgh Direct Aid (overseas aid and support for refugees), Richmond’s Hope (support to bereaved children) and Health in Mind (Edinburgh’s mental health charity). The trees are from Bethany’s Caring Christmas Trees.

There are interactive trees, with a chance to add a name to the prayer tree or remember someone no longer with us, and a Children’s Tree. There is a tree made of upcycled materials from Shrub, Edinburgh’s swap and reuse hub. And many, many more.

The church organises nursery visits, when the children will hear the story of the birth of Jesus, and sing a carol. Older people from some care homes in Edinburgh will visit, sing carols and enjoy tea and mince pies in the Undercroft Café, which is open to all on weekdays throughout the festival.

The minister, Rev. Ian Gilmour, said,
“We all seek a star to follow – come and spend some time in the beautiful surroundings of our church and find your own star this Christmas. It is good to remember at Christmas not just one special Child and one displaced Family, but all children and families, especially those who have lost parents and relatives, their homes, the people they knew, and even their health and hope.”

Follow the Star runs for two weeks in Advent.

Saturday 10 December – Saturday 24 December  

Monday-Saturday (closed Sundays) 10am-6pm 


Saturday 10 December (10am-4pm)

Friday 16 December at (10am – 2pm)

Thursday 22 December late opening until 9pm