The city’s official Christmas tree made its way to Columbus City Hall on Thursday morning, following a longtime tradition that kicks off the holiday season.
Each year, the city asks local residents to consider donating a tree from their property to be placed in front of City Hall. This year’s tree came from the home of Mark and Dawn Selig, who live along Glendale Drive, after public works director Bryan Burton approached the couple to ask if they’d be interested in donating their 20-foot-tall spruce.
Mark Selig, who works as a mechanic in the city’s parks department, said the spruce was planted in front of their home in December 1994 and was the couple’s last Christmas tree at their previous Columbus residence.
“That tree’s been here longer than the house,” Selig said.
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Dawn Selig said she initially had mixed feelings about donating the tree, which has a 14-foot diameter at the base, but came around to the idea.
“Everybody will be able to enjoy it,” she said. “It’s an honor.”
The Seligs stood outside their home taking photos as the tree was cut down and lifted by a crane onto the bed of a city truck.
Burton said the process of selecting official Christmas trees is challenging.
Recognizing that there are few perfect trees, Burton said the process involves making sure one is tall enough and has a good appearance as well.
Identifying potential donor trees is a lengthy process, something he works on year-round, Burton said. This year, Burton said he considered at least a dozen different trees.
“We usually try to find something with a story behind it,” Burton said.
More than a dozen people helped transport the Seligs’ tree to City Hall, where they fit it into the city’s tree stand.
“It’s a big relief when the tree’s standing there,” Burton said.
The tree will be decorated starting Monday, although the city will not be have an official lighting ceremony this year. Tree lights and displays will be lit starting Nov. 25.
Instead of having a second Christmas tree at The Commons this year, residents will find a Santa house there, said Mary Ferdon, the city’s executive director of administration and community development.
Santa will be available Dec. 10 and 17 at The Commons from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., as well as during the downtown “Not So Silent Night” event from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, she said.