The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 3, 2013

True Christmas spirit soars above tallest tree

The News Courier

— There’s just something about a Christmas tree that brings a smile to our faces.

It makes us feel good … all “Christmas-y” inside.

There are the bright lights that look beautiful at night — some even twinkling.

The shiny balls and the unique and decorative ornaments hanging from the branches grab our attention.

And the star or angel perched on top is always a sight to behold.

But this year, there won’t be a lot of smiling around the Courthouse Square.

Or twinkling lights or shiny balls or decorative ornaments.

You see, the Christmas tree won’t be there.

And no, it wasn’t taken by the Grinch.

It’s just that the County Commission said it wasn’t worth spending $1,800 to have it cut, delivered and placed in front of the courthouse.

Instead, the commission is considering planting a pine tree on the grounds of the Courthouse.

A 5- to 6-foot tree. One that will grow.

However, for now, it’s not much taller than the base of the Confederate statue on the Square.

Chances are, too, you’ll barely be able to see it while driving by when there are cars parked around the courthouse.

It’s not quite Charlie Brown’s tree but a far cry from the 18- to 20-foot tree that has traditionally been placed there around every Thanksgiving, bringing joy and smiles to kids of all ages throughout the season.

And the commission’s decision has led to some grumbling around town. Not quite a “Christmas is ruined” feeling but some folks are not happy about the decision.

But, these are the economic times we live in and things are on a tight budget — as we all know personally, as well.

So, just buck up and bear with it. After all, the tree is just a symbol. A powerful symbol, grant you, but a symbol, nonetheless.

The true spirit of Christmas can be found within each of us — not on a Courthouse Square.