“Silly idea becomes Christmas tradition” – TTG

Rob Hutchins puts Christmas decorations on a white cedar on Centerport Parkway in Stafford. He was inspired to decorate the tree by his daughter Alison, who thought the odd tree would be a perfect symbol of the holiday.  (James Baron)

Stafford family turns an odd roadside tree into community joy.

James Scott Baron — The Free Lance-Star

The family that decorated a lone white cedar tree along a busy parkway in southern Stafford last year dressed up the same tree Sunday to once again bring a dose of holiday joy to passing motorists. “You have brought smiles to many drivers that make this route daily,” wrote a woman on a Stafford social media page. “A simple act has helped so many by putting that smile on their faces and thinking of their own Christmas memories and hope for tomorrow.”

Rob Hutchins, a government contractor and a U.S. Navy veteran who has lived in North Stafford since 2002, said it was never his intention to make the tree that lies just south of the Mountain View Road intersection on Centreport Parkway a popular local attraction when his family decorated it just after Thanksgiving last year. “To have had it make so many others happy is such a huge bonus,” Hutchins said. “It’s like our little Stafford tree.”

Hutchins said the unusually positioned 8-foot-tall cedar first got the attention of his then 15-year-old daughter Alison when the family drove by the tree in 2021. Alison told her parents the tall evergreen growing oddly but proudly under a roadside guardrail looked remarkably like a Christmas tree.

“A couple of days went by and I was like, let’s go decorate this thing,” Hutchins said. “So we did, and it kind of blew up on (social media).”

Read the rest of the story here.


Comment: This was the feature story on the front page of my morning paper this morning. It immediately brought a smile to my face as I retrieved it from my mailbox under overcast skies and a light drizzle. It was another reminder why I cherish my local print newspaper. I generally avoid most social media so I missed the saga as it unfolded online.

This story solves the mystery of this one Christmas tree, but there were two other roadside cedars decorated last year along this stretch of road. And I swear I saw decorated cedars in the area in years long past. They remain a Christmas mystery.

Although this appears to be a comparatively insignificant local human interest story, I see it differently. It is a triumph of what is best in us, a triumph of the human spirit. And the fact that this is the lead story in my local paper is, indeed, joyful and triumphant.


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6 Responses to “Silly idea becomes Christmas tradition” – TTG

  1. Fred says:

    This is a wonderful local story that is a fine thing for a Saturday morning. I certainly am tired of reading about things like:
    “We know there was a FISA wire because DOJ disclosed it in the prosecution of Dr. Ho.
    We also know that Dr. Ho “retained” Hunter, paying him $1 million, in connection with that prosecution even though Hunter had no federal criminal defense experience.” That are blowing up the new Musk owned Twitter:

    Also all the other stories about FBI collusion to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop and a slew of other illegal conduct. Definetly needed a pick me up to make for a nice Saturday morning. Thanks.

  2. jim ticehurst.. says:

    Thank You..another Good Story..With Meaning..I Like your Local Flavor..
    And Personal Feelings For this Christmas Season….That Brings
    out Its Spirits of all Kinds of Joy..Happiness..Memorys…And Love..

    Its Good that you Have a Newspaper That Will Do Storys Like that
    And A Community were Folks Will Do Such Joyful Things,,

    It Made me Smile…and It Was…Input in Needed.. I Agree With Fred..
    Bless Him..Bless You TTG..You have a good Heart..Bless You All..
    Merry Christmas..

  3. Peter Hug says:

    Thanks for the Christmas tree story. We had a similar occurrence a few years ago in Toledo – although Toledo being Toledo, it wasn’t a Christmas tree, it was a Christmas weed. It really was pretty wonderful, though…



  4. jerseycityjoan says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I love to see newspapers doing the work nobody else does and being loved by their readers for it.

    When I still lived in Jersey City, I really enjoyed seeing quick glimpses of a Christmas tree every holiday season in a very unlikely place. I always wanted more time for a closer look but it never happened.


  5. Fourth and Long says:


    You’re a forgetful person occasionally. Allow me to express my thanks to whoever and whatever that you leave out:

    In Memory of Elizabeth Montgomery: 13 years without her.

    Dear God,
    My take?
    I’m not impressed with most of your awfulness. My thoughts are unprintable. But you created Elizabeth Montgomery and got her to star as Samantha in Bewitched. And as a kid in America I got to watch her on TV. You’re pretty awful for the most part. But thank you for this. Also for starring her as Samantha’s sister Serena who was brunette as opposed to Samantha who was blond.
    That’s all.

    PS: God – what happened to you?

  6. jim ticehurst.. says:

    ” CLOUDS”jt

    I Often Raise my Human Eyes..Up to The Skys
    Of Those Beautiful Clouds…That Entertain Me..
    Gods Pieces of Art….Placed on The Canopy of Heaven..
    As They Drift By on a Blue Sky…Marvelous ,,Even Moody..

    I See and Feel The Sun..From Its Waking to the Sleep of Nite
    Closing The Curtain. Another Day..God said Let There Be Light..
    I Have Seen The Moon..Set in Place..Even Teasing…With A Face..
    But Nite Brings out the Stars…The Glory…Of That Sight.With Delight..

    And I Marvel..Looking At.All That Infinity.There Is God..Creator
    And I Thank Him…For Being Created in His Image..and Marvel
    At all the Beauty I See..in Human Hearts..Nature ..And This Journey
    On Planet Earth…Gaining Knowledge… From The Principles ..Taught..

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