A city's Christmas tree is the centerpiece of its holiday decorations — so the bigger and brighter, the better.
Concordians may have been disappointed to see the average-sized tree that popped up in the park at Todos Santos Plaza. Decorated with baubles and lights, and surrounded by reindeers and gifts, this tree seems perfect for a living room but dwarfed by its surroundings in a public setting. The black iron fence doesn't help — partially obscuring the bottom quarter of the tree from view.
But although it might look like a Christmas tree, this festively furnished fir is not, in fact, Concord's official holiday tree — not yet, at least.
According to Florence Weiss, Concord's downtown program manager, the fenced-off tree in the park is one that was donated a few years ago to become the city's holiday tree once it had grown to full size.
"Obviously, it's still got a way to go," said Weiss.
Concord's "real" Christmas tree this year is actually one of the large trees on the perimeter of the park by the stage. This tree is among the tallest in the park and has been decorated ahead of this weekend's tree-lighting ceremony, when both the tall tree and the sapling will be lit.
The city used to bring in a 60-foot Christmas each year, but when the economy started to crumble, city officials decided that spending $20,000 on a tree each year was a big waste of cash. The decade-long tradition of having a holiday tree in the park was almost axed altogether, but citizens made their voices clear against losing an important part of Concord's holiday spirit.
So, in 2009, the city chose to use an existing tree in the park for its holiday tradition. The tree that was chosen had originally been planted as a "living tree" over 20 years ago for just such a use, but it had never flourished and instead stood thin, crooked and bare. Nevertheless, the tree was decorated and lit — and Concord gained national media attention for its "Charlie Brown tree".
Unfortunately, the tree soon died. But now a new one is being grown, and although it will be a few years before Concord will have a real ever-green fir Christmas again, the city is saving money and safeguarding the future of the tradition at the same time. With all that said — the tree in the park doesn't seem so measly now, does it?
What do you think of the "Christmas trees" in Todos Santos? Do you remember the Charlie Brown Tree or any other holiday trees in Concord's history? Share your thoughts and memories in the comments below.