Front Yard Tree Tradition brings holiday cheer
December 25, 2020
Driving down Elmhurst streets around the holiday season, many begin to notice the twinkling white lights and the brightly colored Santa displays in peoples yards. Passersby from other states or even other cities notice the small, sometimes relatively large, Christmas trees in Elmhurst residents’ front lawns.
The trees range from real to fake, and they are decorated with an assortment of ornaments, lights and candies. Each holiday season, almost every house props up and decorates their tree outside in the early weeks of December.
“My family and I have bought a tree for our yard for as long as I can remember,” sophomore Lily Beer said. “My mom and I decorated it together, with colored lights because my dad hates white lights and this year we also bought ornaments for it.”
The trees aren’t stuck into the ground or planted, they are propped up. The residents use a variety of different ways to keep their trees from tilting or falling.
“We secure our tree with a post in the ground and then tie a string around the post and the tree before we decorate,” Elmhurst resident Linda Finigan said.
You may be asking yourself, how did this idea become so popular that almost every house in Elmhurst participates? The trees are a fundraiser for the Elmhurst CUSD 205, called the District 205 Holiday Tree Sale. An organizer, called a tree captain, on each block participating, contacts the residents about the fundraiser and collects and distributes the trees.
“One of our neighbors organizes it every year and distributes slips of paper to each of mailboxes that are basically order forms,” former Elmhurst resident Jake Parrillo said in his blog.
Now no one really knows why this tradition boomed in popularity over the years. This Christmas tree tradition encourages community involvement and neighborhood cheer, which we all need a little more of this year.
“It’s always something to look forward to and it’s so fun to see everyone’s tree lit up at night,” senior Danielle Stockwell said.
Although this tradition has been for over 60 years, many wonder how this tradition began. The origins of this tradition are relatively unknown, but it is said that the tradition began in 1953, when three Elmhurst residents, excited about the holidays, decided to place small Christmas trees in their front yards. The residents covered their trees with lights and wrapped them in red-plastic wrap to imitate the look of candy canes. Each year, the tradition has spread to more and more neighborhoods in Elmhurst.
This festive tradition brings holiday spirit and spreads a sense of community to families all over Elmhurst.