Newton Falls – For years, inhabitants of Newton Falls would be intrigued as a newly-cut and freshly-decorated evergreen tree sprouted up seemingly overnight in the traditional spot of Four Corners Park. And each year, when the holiday season completed, that otherwise healthy, sparkle-covered bunch of boughs would disappear just as seemingly overnight, just another Christmas memory, until its successor took its empty place the following winter. Eventually it was decided that a permanent tree planted in that plot could beautify the area all year round and provide the setting for the glitzy greenery on a continual basis for each annual lighting ceremony to come. The first large blue spruce selected for such a task unfortunately did not last until even the next year, so it was replaced with a similar tree waiting to fulfill its festive duties. All seemed well until that tree then began to lean a bit under the weight of the giant ornaments during the post-Thanksgiving trunk-trimming merriment! Would it too follow the apparently new tradition of standing in the square for not even a full year? It appeared it would take a Christmas miracle, but…
Despite concerns that yet another anonymous donor would have to step forward to rescue the holiday habit, the tree that proudly stands representing the seasonal spirit of the community is indeed still the one that was planted over a year ago! Though the tree itself is something older, the decorations themselves are something new, replacing the bulky though beautiful adornments with something a bit shinier and a bit sleeker which were shown off during this past weekend’s lighting ceremony.
On Saturday, residents and visitors to the small town gathered together to welcome a familiar face who returned from his post at the North Pole. Delivered to the scene by a local fire engine, Santa took a few moments to greet old friends and meet new ones who escorted him into the park singing strains of “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Though the brisk winds contained quite a bit of chill, they also carried with them the carols sung by community members who braved the cold to spread a bit of cheer. While Santa made his rounds, giving hugs and extending warm wishes for the winter, a uniformed helper made sure every child there received a stuffed toy, many tots hugging plush kittens, puppies and teddy bears while watching in anticipation for the tree to join in the joy.
Sounds of the season transitioned from songs to momentarily hushed silence to an excited countdown before finally erupting into cheers as the switch flipped and the shadowy scene disappeared, making way for the main event of the evening. The big man in red was dwarfed (or elfed?) only by the tree itself, in all its glistening glory as he directed the chorus of carolers back to singing Christmas favorites. Accented by the tiny but mighty crowd, the tree radiated in its new decorations, draped elegant strings of lights and a glowing star shined in the night.