BLOG: Tree Dressing Day

29 November 2018

Since 1990, our communities have come together in celebration of our leafy friends on Tree Dressing Day which takes place the first weekend of December. It is all about remembering and appreciating what our trees do for us. We can then make a fuss of our favourite trees by trimming them with colourful decorations.

What our trees do for us?

Often, we walk or drive past the same trees every day. 

Have you ever thought about how you benefit from having trees where you live?

  • Trees can help to improve air quality - allowing us to breather easier
  • Trees brighten up busy urban areas and make them more inviting places to live
  • Trees keep urban areas cooler and prevent flooding
  • A greener, more tree-filled environment, reduces stress and improves our mental wellbeing

Trimming trees around the globe

Tree Dressing day makes us aware of ancient customs around the world which celebrate trees in simple but colourful ways.

In Japan, people tie strips of paper (tanzaku) containing wishes or poems around trees for the Tanabata Matsuri (the summertime Star festival).

In India, Buddhists tie ribbons around the trunk of the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment.

Trim your own tree: make your own on-trend tree decorations

These colour-blocked tags are a quirky British twist on a Japanese tree-trimming festival tradition. Write your own messages on each tag.


  • Brown paper luggage tags (available from stationers)
  • Masking tape -Colourful paints and paint brush
  • Clear nail polish / or laminating machine


  • Add masking tape to each tag and paint the tips of the tags with a variety of colours
  • Wait until almost dry. Then remove the masking tape to reveal a clearly defined colour-block
  • Write a wish or message on the tag
  • If you want to make them water-resistant and longer-lasting – laminate them, or paint them with clear nail polish to seal
  • Tie the tags onto a tree to decorate, spreading the different colours around the tree

This idea can be adapted for Christmas by using festive colours, glitter paint or decorating tags with Christmas novelty stamps, stickers or sequins.

How else can I get involved in Tree Dressing Day?

  • You can join in a local ‘tree dressing’ event or do your own thing in your back yard/ garden/ communal garden
  • Come along to our City of Trees party on 1st December at Crompton Moor, Oldham
  • Share your tree stories online on the Heritage Trees website 
  • Visit the new Greater Manchester Tree Charter Pole in Drinkwater Park in Bury. It forms part of the Irwell Sculpture trail.