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Christmas tree memories

Lyon County Museum Tree Walk participants share their holiday spirit

Photo by Jim Muchlinski Dianne Swart, a member of the Marshall based Household Executives club, placed a toy owned by club member Helen Quist at the top of the club’s 2019 Christmas Tree Walk entry. Their tree is one of many that’s on display throughout the holiday at the Lyon County Museum.

The Lyon County Museum has more than a baker’s dozen of trees on display for the Christmas season, and all of them reflect someone’s inspiration.

A full set of trees are featured this month at the museum’s Christmas Tree Walk. Trees are interspersed throughout the three-story facility, located at the intersection of North 3rd and West Lyon streets in downtown Marshall.

“We encourage everyone to display a tree,” said Lyon County Museum Director Jennifer Andries. “It’s open to both individuals and organizations.”

Andries played an important role in a front lobby tree based on Lyon County history. She furnished photos of county history as the main theme for the museum’s entry.

Two volunteers, Marilee Thomas and Carol White, planned the final tree trimming details by turning photograph copies into snow globes.

“We thought globes would be a good way to display everything we wanted to represent,” Thomas said. “It’s a first impression that will make people want to learn about the topics displayed in the pictures. We’re trying to finish it this afternoon.”

Tree Walk entrants were encouraged to have their trees fully decorated prior to Thanksgiving. The trees are on display throughout December. Museum visitors can vote for their favorite trees during museum hours until a New Year’s Eve deadline.

Each of the trees reflects a theme, purpose or mission. Some advertise the organization that created them. Others focus on a broader theme based on ideas of at least one tree decorating coordinator

Joyce DeCramer of Marshall, a former downtown Marshall merchant, based her 2019 tree on an angels theme. All of her decorations represent an angel or in some way convey a message appropriate to the role angels play throughout the holidays.

“I wanted to do something that could show the spirit of the holiday season,” DeCramer said. “Angels was a good theme for that. I built everything else around an angels concept.”

DeCramer’s tree includes an inspirational message near its front and center, along with decorative trim that matches individual angels included throughout the tree.

“I’ve always enjoyed decorating Christmas trees,” she said. “I usually did at least 10 of them when I had my store. I still like putting together at least one every year.”

Many other Christmas Tree Walk entries involve more of a team approach, including one that’s the latest in a long line of contest entries by a community-based club in Marshall known as the Household Executives.

The club comprises about a dozen women members who are or have been part of community-based education. They formed their club about 50 years ago as a tie-in to Marshall’s former Faculty Wives club, which was popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

For their 2019 Tree Walk entry, the Household Executives chose to create a tree based on vintage children’s toys. Some of the ornaments on their trees have popular brand names such as Fischer Price. They all reflect the unvarnished happiness seen on the faces of young children who were eager for Christmas Day.

“It was a really good theme for us,” said Household Executives club member Helen Quist of Marshall. “Those of us who have children still have many of their toys at home. We dragged them out of our basements or attics.”

Quist furnished the tree topper for the club’s contest entry. It’s a classic children’s toy that brings together bright colors and a variety of block-sized shapes.

A group of club members put the finishing touches on their tree on a weekday afternoon. They worked as a team to decide on details such as which ornaments to feature at eye level and at the front and center of their tree display.

“Most of us have been part of Household Executives since it’s early years,” said retired Lyon County Extension educator Shirley Anderson Porisch. “We enjoy anything that’s creative. The Christmas Tree Walk is something we look forward to every holiday season.”

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