OH! CHRISTMAS TREE, OH CHRISTMAS TREE: For a whole year, evergreen trees tend to stay in the background like poor old Cinderella sweeping the hearth, but Christmas time is their time to shine. Other trees have shed their leaves and become bleak, moss-covered spindles, so God forbid, someone in the tree family has to step forward, and the evergreens do it with aplomb. Lush, dark green pines, spruce, cedar and holly become the things of Hollywood movies, the poor, forgotten little shop-girl suddenly makes good and becomes feted at Christmas time. We don’t bother covering oak or ash with baubles and a fairy now do we? The evergreens reign may be short-lived, before deciduous trees come into their own again with their sweet new buds of spring, but my goodness, conifers are winter’s rock stars, and yet they are so personable. They stand still and don’t fidget as we pile them up with a loft- full of decorations, they smell nice [their personal hygiene is second to none] I even reckon that if they were mobile they would fetch the hoover and sweep up their own dropped needles ‘Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree how lovely are your branches’ is a fitting carol for a tree so valued and pampered, albeit once a year.

IDEN CHILDREN DECORATE THE CHURCH CHRISTMAS TREE: The Old Hall was the venue for the annual Christmas party for over 20 village children last Saturday, who enjoyed various amusements, including Miss Dolly Mixture, the entertainer, and lots of lovely things to eat. Afterwards the children decorated the Christmas tree in the church, a splendid way to get them involved in Christmas festivities. Many thanks go to Glenn, Brenda, Paula and many others for making this occasion so special. Michael Miller reported the happening as a resounding success for the children and their parents.

THE IDEN CHRISTMAS LUNCH: Michael Miller sent a glowing report on the Iden Christmas lunch as follows;

What has become established as the start of the Christmas season is the luncheon in the Village Hall, advertised for seniors, or as they would describe themselves, “young at heart”. Once again, the guests enjoyed a marvellous Christmas meal with the usual accompaniments followed by a wide variety of puddings which encouraged second helpings and multiple choices. The whole thing started with lots of smiles and delicious homemade canapes. The entire event was organised by Teresa Cooper and her willing band of assistants, who waited on table and cheerfully joined in the all-round good humour, although the corny cracker jokes were met with the usual reception. The afternoon progressed with the obligatory raffle, quizzes and games, culminating in a sing along of carols and seasonal songs. Finally, a collection was made for St Michael’s Hospice, raising £125. Everyone left in no doubt that Christmas was almost here, appreciating the wonderful food and service. I doubt if anyone had room for supper that evening. Many thanks to Teresa and her hardworking team for making the hall look so lovely. As Micheal commented, people say Iden is a quiet village, but we cater for all ages with much aplomb.

THE ’HERE TO HELP SERVICE’: There is a valuable voluntary service in the Rye area called ‘ Here To Help’[H2H], run under the auspices of the Rye Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital, for people who live in the Rother parishes of Iden, Playden, Rye Foreign, Peasmarsh, Winchelsea, Udimore, Icklesham, Camber, East Guildford and Rye. ‘Here To Help’ are recruiting people in those parishes interested in joining as a helper, to aid their local community. For further details, see the volunteers section for Rye Hospital on email--www, For more info., and an application form, please leave a message on the H2H answer phone 01797 224044. All volunteers are DBS checked, and expenses are paid.

THE IDEN CAROL SERVICE: All are welcome to the Christmas Carol Service in Iden Parish Church, at 7pm on December 20th. There will be refreshments in the church after the service. The collection will go to the Rye Food Bank.

A SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION: There is a service of Holy Communion in Iden Parish Church on Sunday at 9.30am.

WELCOME TO THE VILLAGE HALL ALL YOU THESPIANS: This Sunday 9th December at 2.30pm , there will be a meeting to discuss the Iden Players next show. Anyone interested in taking part, or helping behind the scenes, do come along. Your participation will be much appreciated. Please ring Teresa on 01797 280143 if you can’t make the meeting but would like to take part.

CHRISTMAS CRAZIES!: In the days of Herod, the king, when the wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus, they probably never thought that their actions years ahead would prompt an Iden woman to be out in the rain with a head full of curlers [looking like a crazed Ena Sharples] arranging holly on either side of the front door. I hope no one saw me last Saturday morning , it was not a pretty sight, but once I get a bee in my bonnet at Christmas time, madness takes over. It was freezing, I had to sit in front of the stove with the oven door open, in order to thaw out. My husband was moaning like a drain. “ We don’t need any more holly”, he said [he’s never understood me.] He tried to help, but men are hopeless with foliage. He kept bringing me tiny bits of holly more suited to decorating a budgie cage. Christmas brings out the madness in all of us. I wonder how many people in America fall off the roof putting up Santa and his sleigh. Whatever, the Bah Humbugs and party poopers will never stamp out the joy that is Christmas. We may be over the top about it all, but our hearts and minds are embedded in that tiny stable in Bethlehem.

CONTACT ME: If anyone has anything to add to the Village Voice, please ring Gill Griffin [telephone 01797 280311]