Recently I was very disappointed in the decision makers of Redding Pennsylvania. Today I am more than proud. I’m encouraged.
For those of you who missed the newscast, a fairly ugly Christmas tree had received enough criticism that the city decided to take it down and put a “beautiful” and “perfect” tree in its place.
That Christmas tree that they decided to remove was a great tree, a tree with character, a tree with personality. Ugly? Yes. Not like other Christmas trees? Absolutely! To approve replacing it with a clone of every other manufactured, groomed, trimmed and perfected Christmas tree, in my opinion, showed a disturbing lack of creativity, courage and imagination.
One newscaster said, “What a message to give our children—if it isn’t perfect, get rid of it.”
Fortunately, someone had the courage to say, “Wait a minute,” and the truly ugly tree was saved and is now receiving ornaments for its sparse and scraggly branches. A “beautiful” tree will be erected in another park in the city, a win-win situation for everyone.
We are bombarded with images from art directors and advertisers of what we should consider beautiful. People with lines on their faces from living, people whose rough skin and age spots don’t match the glitzy and glossy ads for magic face creams that we see on television and in magazines, are not supposed to be perceived as beautiful. The truth of the matter is that we all live and rarely do our lives match the sitcoms on TV or the ads in the magazines. We all age, some better than others, but those wrinkles and sagging muscles should be seen and celebrated as positive signs of a life well and intensely lived.
The reclaimed and saved Redding Christmas tree now has the potential to bring smiles, and to remind the Redding citizens that life is beautiful even when it is NOT perfect. So, Well Done, decision makers of Redding, Pennsylvania, after a somewhat rocky start. I’m proud of you for recognizing the potential of your homely Christmas tree and reminding us that beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors and is precious wherever we find it.