December 19, 2013

Happy Holidays from Clanfield, England!

Stephens Church in the snow.

Hello, my name is Karen - I am the Magpie from Mothball and the Magpie and I am thrilled to be doing my first ever guest blog spot for the lovely Kristen here at Whatever is Lovelier. I always look forward to sneaking a glimpse into her world through her blog and being inspired by her beautiful photographs.  I hope you enjoy a little taste of what Christmas means in my small village and then please do pop over to my blog to compare it with the wonder of an Arizona Christmas courtesy of Kristen.

Clanfield is a small village in Oxfordshire, England. It has a population of under a thousand and has a claim to fame of being mentioned in the Domesday Book. I have lived here almost my entire life and have family links going back several generations.

Christmas is these days generally celebrated in small family gatherings but there are still one or two focal points where people come together. One of these is the church - still a really important part of village life. The Christmas Eve midnight mass draws a large crowd and is a major part of the festive season for many families.

The Clanfield Tavern (the more affordable establishment)
The other main focus is the village pub! We are lucky enough to boast two such establishments although one is considerably more 'exclusive' than the other. The pub provides a meeting place for locals and visitors alike and is also usually full on Christmas Eve as the church congregation warm up prior to the main event :)

The village hall – carol singers hiding indoors from the rain

Every year the church also holds a charity carol singing evening at the village hall. This has taken the place of the more traditional walk from house to house with lanterns and bobble hats and these days even boasts a brass band!

One of the villagers always creates a Winter Wonderland in her garden.
The Christmas tree in the grounds of the hall is the only public council provided decoration but many villagers put on their own displays for the benefit of the community. Some of these displays are more tasteful than others and some people do like to put them up nice and early.

Christmas in my village is about honouring values and spending time with loved ones. I guess in this respect it shares something with even the biggest town!

Here's wishing you and your loved ones a most merry Christmas and peaceful New Year.


  1. Thank you for being my first guest blogger, Karen! I love this glimpse into your village and seeing how your family celebrates the holidays. Your photo of St. Stephens is magical!! I just love old churches and to see this one covered in snow is such fun. I wish I was there to see it person! Thanks again for sharing your holidays with me and my readers!! xoxo, Kristen

  2. Thank you so much for having me - I am still thrilled that you asked me! The snow picture was taken in January last year so it's not 'technically' Christmas but I agree, it does look beautiful! Maybe one day you can come here and I can show you the sites for real , Karen xxx

  3. Lovely pictures! I'd love to be in Britain around this time of the year, I still remember my time there with the most beautiful memories...

  4. Karen, what lovely photos!! Christmas in Clanfield sounds so charming! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love reading about and traveling through the English countryside. Must be the English in me, courtesy of my Grandfather coming from London. Wish I could be there to see your charming little village. Thanks for sharing your photos and traditions. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  6. Thanks for sharing your charming Christmas! What a great idea to guest blog!


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