45-Foot-Tall Tree to Spread Holiday Cheer Across Chicago

Chloe Mutter, Staff Writer

The holidays are a time for lending a helping hand in community service, but for Catherine Townsend and her daughter Sherri Mitchall, they hoped to lend a little more that just a hand in helping the city of Chicago celebrate Christmas. 

Just as Townsend decided to sell her home in Morgan Park, Chicago, her daughter enlightened her with the idea of submitting their 45-foot-tall Blue Spruce tree to be Chicago’s 2020 Christmas tree. This tree had been growing in their backyard house since 1985, and was one of the masterpieces of her garden. The extraordinary tree was selected out of 50 nominations to be displayed in Millennium Park this year. 

“It’s unbelievable, it’s simply unbelievable, I’m just, well I’m just basking in the beauty.” Towsend said to WGN9 when the tree was being cut down from her garden. 

Chicago’s official Christmas tree started its journey on Nov 6,  officially arriving in Millennium Park three days later. You can see the massive tree from Washington Street and Michigan Avenue as it gradually becomes the center of Chicago’s holiday scene.

According to the Chicago Times, “the city will not have its annual lighting ceremony because of the COVID-19 pademinc but workers will drape Townsend’s tree with lights and hold a number of virtual holiday programs.” 

 The annual Chicago Holiday Lighting Program, streamed through Youtube on Nov 19, marked the official beginning of the city’s festivities. Holiday cheer is one of the many things that bring people joy during these hard times. Due to that, the tree will stay lit until Jan 7 in order to prolong the Christmas spirit in a time where people need it most.

“We are extremely excited to be continuing our city’s beloved winter traditions this season in a safe and healthy way,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a news release for Chicago Tribune. 

This year’s tree has an extra special meaning for Townsend and her family, as the rising numbers of COVID cases have prevented them from meeting up for this year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas. To make up for this, they have decided that their family will visit the tree as a way to resemble being together for the holidays.