More than 50 years ago, my dad planted an evergreen tree. He watered it and cared for it, and when it grew to approximately 3 feet tall he placed its first set of Christmas lights. Thus our tradition began.
Every Christmas since, this tree has lit up our neighborhood corner. The tree grew up along with us three kids. Mom and Dad planted a garden around it in spring and created an ice skating rink nearby in winter.
Dad passed away in November 1991. With all the emotions of his passing, Thanksgiving came and went. When the topic of the tree was raised, Mom said, “Not this year.” But my brother, sister and I said, “Dad would want it to be done,” so that following weekend we decorated the tree together in his memory.
The three of us meticulously place 1,100 lights each November. Every family member has participated in some way throughout the years. The tree now stands about 40 feet tall, and we have resorted to using a cherry picker lift to put the top lights on.
We turn the lights on the evening after Thanksgiving. They glow each night until New Year’s Day. We get many compliments from neighbors. People drive by slowly, some taking pictures and others just enjoying the beauty. Then in spring we pack the lights safely away for the next year.