Hello and Happy Holidays. If you live in Huntsville it would be hard not to recognize that it is “that time of year” again.  For us, the holiday tradition begins with decorated Christmas trees finding their way out of the living room and into the outdoors. Downtown Huntsville becomes the best of everyone’s living room.

For the past nine years, like most everyone in Huntsville, I have ventured downtown to see the amazing display of decorated Christmas Trees that twinkle throughout Big Spring Park. This year they have expanded the display and the trees are lined up limb to limb on both sides of the spring. Each tree on display has been “adopted” by a business, an organization, or a religious group with an appropriate theme or by individuals and non-profits that honor people or a cause. The festive holiday themes are only limited by one’s imagination. As the sun sets Big Spring Park comes alive with the twinkle of the Christmas lights.

As I walked through the park I looked around at the thousands of twinkling lights and as I took in the variety of themes of the many trees, I marveled at the creative genius of all of the decorations. At one point though, I was taken back by one very special tree sponsored by the organization, Not One More Alabama. The tree is filled with photographs of individuals that our community has lost to drug addiction and mental illness. It is a sobering moment as you stand in reverence and reflect on the many families that will celebrate the season having lost a loved one. It is a subject that all too often gets lost in the narrative and one that we as a community including our city fathers need to do more to address. Given the year we have had, I am forever grateful that the tradition of honoring lost lives continues.

As I continued on my journey, it was very gratifying to see the many festive traditional Christmas themes and to know that we still get to enjoy and embrace the true spirit of holiday season. What better time than to get outdoors and stop to give thanks to the lord for the one very important reason that we celebrate the holiday, the birth of Christ. Isn’t that really what the holiday is all about, a gift of love that embraces everything about the season and the ones we cherish most.

Tinsel Trail is as much a holiday tradition for the City of Huntsville as families sharing time together and opening presents. I look forward to it each year, not only as a photographer, but more so as it tends to bring the kid out in me one more time.  Seeing the decorated trees always brings back fond memories of my childhood and the fun we had decorating our very own tree. And at my age you need all the help you can, unless you believe what most of my friends say and that “I just never grew up!”

As we embrace the season and 2020 coming to an end, let me be one of the first to wish you a very joyous and happy holiday!!!!