Known as “FeST,” St. Matthew’s celebrates the many and diversified creative talents of parishioners at the Festival of the Society Tree on the first Saturday in December.  

On sale will be handcrafted items that have been made by members of St. Matthew’s especially for this holiday sale.

The Ordinary Café will offer delicious and traditional muffins and breads, homemade soups, and warm drinks. Cakes, pies, fudge, and more will also be for sale.

Handmade fraser fir wreaths are sold each year for home decorating or adornment of burial spaces in the churchyard.  To order one or more wreaths online with credit card or Paypal balance, click here. (NOTE: You must use either an existing Paypal account or create a Paypal account upon purchase confirmation to use the online purchase option.) Otherwise, download and complete the Wreath Order Form and return it to the church office by the date stipulated on the form.

All proceeds of the sale go to support programs and organizations that address the needs for food, shelter, and clothing in Hillsborough and Orange County.

The event is named in honor of the efforts of the Ladies Sewing Society who in 1867 used what was then a novelty, the Christmas tree, as a way to sell their wonderful handwork. The Society raised the funds for much of the architectural additions and furnishings that still grace the historic church building. Over the course of 40 years, with the products of their hands, the ladies paid for the pipe organ as well as extensive renovations to the church building. 

This description is from the Society’s 1867 Minutes book:

“On the 2nd of Dec a called meeting was held to make arrangements for a Christmas Tree, which the Society hoped, would be some help. They sent $20.00 to Baltimore, which was laid out in Toys, Confectionary, and Lights. The contributions to the tree included many items of fine needlework by the Ladies of the Society, and other irregular members. Articles made included cravats, dolls, infant clothing, handkerchiefs, aprons, crosses, pincushions, tobacco bags, and cushions. The Ladies obtained picture frames, illuminated cards and fireworks. Friends also contributed; many gentlemen of the community gave items like jewelry, oranges, and pictures. Twenty dollars was spent at Mr. Brown’s store to add more articles. The Ladies put up the tree with the assistance of Col. Webb. Proceeds from the sale of items were collected over a period on months.”

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