A Festival of Trees

It is 7:45 a.m.  The phone rings.  It is my Mommy.  I am not even at work yet.  Her only question?  She wants to know if I want her to pick up some garland and a wreath for me – they are on sale.  It is officially Christmas time.

I love Christmas.  However, my love cannot hold a candle to that of my Mommy.  She starts listening to Christmas music in July.  She puts up two full-size and fully decorated Christmas trees (one perfect and super fancy and the other with all the old childhood ornaments).  She has made and collected enough Santas to have her own store.  She bakes – pumpkin rolls, cheese cakes, pumpkin pies, fruit salad, cranberry relish, and fudge.  She loves it.

Needless to say I have inherited some of this love, but mine, unlike Mommy’s does not center around decorations.  Last year I did not put up a Christmas tree.  This was not a popular choice.  I was openly shamed.  This year, though, I have a tree up (all four feet of it) and it is fully decorated (it was $20 at Big Lots – don’t judge me).  Why?  No one will see it but The Queen and me.  There was no merriment when I put it up.  My Mommy won’t even see it.  Well, I was inspired.  I was inspired by the buffet of beautiful and artfully decorated trees and displays while at Disney World for Thanksgiving and by a wonderful FW tradition, The Embassy Theatre Festival of Trees.

As you might imagine, a Disney Christmas is magical (that is Disney’s favorite word – “Hello, it is a magical day at Disney” is their standard phone greeting).  And, the magic is often over the top.  Each Disney property hotel had its own fantastic tree.  Each park had a tree.  Each park had trees within it, some dedicated to its theme (think animals in Animal Kingdom) or the characters (Chip and Dale have their own tree).  There were trees everywhere.  Then, there are the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios, complete with fake snow.  If you have never heard of this google it and find a video.  It is impressive.  If Christmas time at Disney can’t whip you into the holiday spirit there is no hope for you.  Seriously.  I was so overtaken by the Christmas spirit that I actually (voluntarily) purchased Christmas decorations – glass Mickey ornaments and trees.  Sad but true.  Mickey made me put up a tree.

Here is an example of the over-the-topness, poinsettia “trees”.  These things were everywhere as were poinsettias.  Everywhere.

When this family's decorations got kicked out of Arkansas the massive decorations ended up in Orlando.

My favorite Disney park is The Animal Kingdom.  Of course, it featured a tree covered with animals and such.

The Hollywood Studios tree was equally charming and theme-appropriate, lots of stars and sparkles.

My favorite tree from the Disney trip was the tree of white poinsettias at the Dolphin Resort.  It was awesome.  Also in the picture below is my youngest niece, The Benevolent Dictator. She loves Disney almost as much as my Mommy loves Christmas.

Here are some other shots of magical Disney Christmas-ness.

I arrived back in FW unwilling to feel bad about my being sucked into the holiday (and Disney) spirit.  So, I got right on the holiday activities. I returned to FW at the perfect time to experience the Embassy Festival of Trees.  A lovely downtown activity. 

On Sunday evening, after church, I headed downtown.  By the way, in an effort to help you plan your trip next year, Sunday evening is the perfect time to visit the Festival – no crowd and all the pretty.

The Festival of Trees is an annual event, now in its 27th year, that features Christmas trees sponsored and decorated by local businesses.  For the bargain price of $6.50 (adult) you get to see 54 beautifully decorated (and fun) Christmas trees, see children dance ensemble and choir performances, spend some time in a lovely and special place, and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  It is fun.  And, yes, I did have my picture made with Santa and Mrs. Claus gave me a candy cane.  One is never too old.

All the proceeds from the Festival of Trees support The Embassy Theatre.  The Embassy Theatre itself has been around since the early 1920s and is the home of Bob Hope’s first emcee job.  Others that have graced the stage include Duke Ellington, Perry Como, Doris Day, Louis Armstrong, and Tony Bennett. I recently saw Bryan Adams there.  It is a classic grand old theatre.  I love living in towns with these types of theaters because they have so much to offer the community – broadway shows, old cinema, local attractions – it is great.  In Knoxville it is The Tennessee Theatre, in Richmond it is The Landmark (formerly The Mosque), in Bristol it is The Paramount, and FW has The Embassy.  They all have great names too!

Here are a few of my favorite trees from the Festival.  Enjoy!

Gifted by 97.3 WMEE and Hartzog Interiors and Katie Hartzog.

Senzaburu by Fort Wayne Newspapers and Wunderkammer Co. (my sweet friend Dan).

It’s Beginning to Look at Lot Like Sesame Street by WFWA PBS39.  I loved this tree as I was once a devoted fan of Sesame Street.

May HIS Force Be With You by Thrivent Community-Greater Hoagland and Wendy Thieme.  Star Wars is always appropriate.  I love a wookie.

Fifty-four is a lot of trees.

Enjoy your Christmas time experience whether it involves four feet of tree or 54 trees. It is all pretty.


Here is one of my favorite Christmas tunes . . . so far mine is holly, jolly indeed.