To Decorate A Tree

Growing up in a small New England town during the Depression, a little girl stood in the town square, gazing at her town’s majestic Christmas tree, a yuletide tradition.

Growing up in a small New England town during the Depression, a little girl stood in the town square, gazing at her town’s majestic Christmas tree, a yuletide tradition.

With great anticipation she placed her self-made decoration on the tree as snow softly snuggled into the tree’s branches. This community event brought great joy to those participating and delight to the little girl when she was given hot chocolate while waiting for her turn to hang a creation upon the boughs. The high point of this event was an appearance from old St. Nick himself, who gleefully handed each child a candy cane.
 

Many years later on December 6, 1969, that tradition was born here in Manhattan Beach. No Depression, nor any snow, but the c if they would cooperate by having each second-grader make a particular decoration they wished to hang on a tree.
 

There was also much consternation with the city manager about finding and purchasing a living tree. With great satisfaction, a beautiful 13-foot evergreen was selected by the city and planted on a knoll in Polliwog Park by the Public Works Department. The area, at that time, was void of any type of tree.
 

That first year approximately 600 second-grade students individually responded with joyous holiday spirit by placing hand-made decorations, created at school, on the new community Christmas tree. However, all children who wanted to participate were welcomed. Each year a different class was asked to decorate the tree so that over the years, many children could take part in the cheerful occasion. For years during the tree-trimming ceremony, carols were sung and Santa got a helping hand from the mayor, chamber of commerce, youth council and the police department, who transported Santa by way of a police “black and white.”
 

Times change, people change and activities change, but my secret delight and joy is that the same living evergreen still stands proudly among the many trees on the knoll near Manhattan Beach Boulevard in Polliwog Park.
 

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