, Newburyport, MA


November 16, 2012

'This just gets bigger and better every year'


As Maureen Pollard, the festival chairwoman, walked along the rows of trees in the atrium of the office building last weekend, she often stopped to look in awe in many of the trees. How could she not?

Each tree is eye-catching, either for its pure beauty and attention to detail — like the winter scene hand-painted on a bed sheet that is the backdrop to a woodland Christmas tree display.

Pollard said this festival lets people show off their creative sides and really challenge themselves by trying to outdo what they did in previous years.

“This is such a community event,” said Pollard. “This has become a meeting place for people every year.”

Mazella added that many people decorate trees in memory of loved ones.

“It helps them work through the grief; it’s almost like therapy,” she said.

Like George Siodis Jr., 15, and his mother, Natasha Knight, of Salem, N.H. The pair has decorated a tree for the last three years in memory of Siodis’ father, George, who passed away four years ago. Their tree this year, “Have a Berry Christmas,” is decked out with hundreds of bears and pays homage to Siodis’ Greek heritage by featuring the colors blue and white.

“The first Christmas after he was gone, it was really hard,” said Knight. “We thought this would be a nice way to honor his memory and do something charitable at the same time.”

She said her son loves history, so this was a perfect fit. The pair started working on the tree in February, searching for ornaments, and even made about 100 themselves.

Another tree, “Super Nick,” was created in memory of Nicholas DeFelice from Dracut, who lost his battle with cancer in June at the age of 9. The hockey-themed tree has Boston Bruins decorations, hockey puck ornaments and Nick’s picture atop the tree.

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