First in a new series of Stories from Festivals Past
By Wilda Hayes, 2018 Festival Chair
Each year, Festival lovers who donate trees keep an eye out over the winter, spring, and summer months for inspiration for the next tree they will decorate for the Ann’s Place Festival of Trees. The idea could come out of the blue, or it could be the result of scouring Pinterest to see what is trending in holiday trees. Sometimes it takes the form of describing a unique characteristic or hobby of a dear one. When that happens, decorating and dedicating the tree gives us special quiet time to reflect on a life well lived.
Our Most Memorable Tree
We would not say it was the most beautiful one, but my daughter and I created that special tree in memory of my brother who had died suddenly. After thinking of all the quirks that endeared him to us, we joked that Mike was never on time. It was also perfectly clear that he simply ran out of time; his was a life far too short for our hearts to accept. We tossed around time concepts and came up with “It’s About Time” as the name for our whimsical tree. We covered the tree with clocks and clock faces of all sizes and shapes. Since he shared a birthday with Elvis, we threw in the Crooner’s clock for good measure. We laughed and cried and ate chocolate, one evening after the next, as we built the tree.
When it was all done, we realized that the experience was much bigger than a donation; it was a therapeutic gift that made us smile.
Although the tree was won at Festival, the winner heard of its personal connection and sweetly gave it back to us. We immediately made an identical one for the winner and kept Mike’s tree in the family. We have decorated many trees since, but that one lingers in our hearts. W. Hayes
If you have a special backstory on a tree you created for Festival, please share it with us in 350 words or less, including a photograph of your tree or yourself. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Tree Backstory” in the subject line. We will post these stories on a space available basis leading up to Festival. We are also interested in talking to people who are creating new trees this year to be interviewed for features in the press.
Decorate and Submit Your Own Tree!
If you would like a great team-building or family activity, be part of Festival by decorating your own tree this year. Click here to view instructions.
More Festival activities are at: