Social media in Maplewood (and South Orange) have been a-buzz in the last week as locals pondered the prospect that the Prospect Street tree would NOT be lit this year.
Beginning in 2000, the Burns family, then-owners of the home at the top of the Crescents on Prospect Street started decorating and lighting the enormous conifer each Christmas. Usually, the tree was lit by December 6.
Steve Burns explained to Marcia Worth-Baker in 2010 that the tree had been planted two home owners before him and was about 40 years old. He called the annual decoration and lighting of the tree “our present to the town.”
Recently, the Burns family moved — but not before passing the torch to the new home owners.
However, as December 6 came and went with no sign of Carew Tree Service hanging lights on the tree, locals despaired.
Then today, Joan Crystal reported on the Village Green News & Views Facebook page that the crew had arrived and lights were being strung.
Another nearby neighbor shared this message from the new homeowners:
Dear fellow lovers of the Top of the Crescents Christmas Tree,
We are so happy to be able to light the tree in our yard, and to be part of this fantastic and welcoming community.
Although the delay in getting the lights up was due mainly to our status as professional procrastinators, we did struggle with the ramifications of the tradition, given that, for the next few years, at least, it looks like it will be up to concerned private citizens to battle climate change and the other effects of over-consumption.
Clearly, holiday and community spirit should, and did, trump (!) those concerns, but if seeing the tree lit (with our new low-energy LEDs) brings you joy, we urge you to turn that feeling into action, and donate to the National Resources Defense Council (https://www.nrdc.org/) or the environmental group of your choice.
Regardless of whether you do or don’t, we wish you all a joyful, light-filled holiday season, and thanks to all for making SOMA such a lovely place.
The Christmas Tree House