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Giving: The true spirit of Christmas

Posted by Phil Sammon, US Forest Service public affairs office in Forestry
Feb 21, 2017
Capitol Christmas Tree lit December 7, 2010
Capitol Christmas Tree lit December 7, 2010

Do you have any idea how many ornaments it takes to decorate a 67-foot-tall Christmas tree? Do you ever count your ornaments? For this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree Wyoming did.

Pam Bode, US Forest Service Resource Manager for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, personally calculated and cataloged the ornaments from Wyoming. Each was made by heart in the spirit of giving that brought people from across the state together in an outpouring of hope, love and pride. Most of the ornaments, or groups of ornaments, came with a short form, that told stories of the people and circumstances that went into the ornaments.

“All of these ornaments were made by children whose parents serve in the US military.” begins one explanation. The ornaments “…were made as a community service project (for a) military 4-H Day Camp.”.

“We are an ‘isolated’ rural school…” begins another. “We currently have 3 students – two fifth graders and one eighth grader.” Every student contributed to the effort.

According to submission guidelines, ornaments should be made from recycled materials. There are painted, crushed can angels; decorated pockets from blue jeans; horse shoes adorned with glitter and ribbon; swatches of leather; barbed wire wreaths; pieces of rope lassos; cowboy hats and boots; even a small snowman shaped from recycled drywall plaster. You can still see the impressions of the artist’s child-sized fingers in the dried shape of the ornament.

“My daughter at the age of 32 had breast cancer,” another tells. This woman and her husband had been making dust pans from large and small Wyoming license plates to raise donations for cancer research, but they made a large number and donated them to the Tree. The form concludes, “If you need more, let us know. This is a great honor for our Great State of Wyoming.”

Everything about this year’s Tree exemplifies the giving spirit of Christmas. It personifies the pride of Wyoming and the spirit of this great Nation through the hands we all have that eagerly reach out to help others – to bring a smile, wipe a tear, or simply craft one of 17,000 ornaments that our neighbors in Wyoming sent along with their trees as gifts to this nation.

A sampling of the ornaments made by the giving hands of Wyoming residents, including Cheyenne Veterans Hospital patients, Cub Scout members and grade school students. (US Forest Service photos by Phil Sammon)
A sampling of the ornaments made by the giving hands of Wyoming residents, including Cheyenne Veterans Hospital patients, Cub Scout members and grade school students. (US Forest Service photos by Phil Sammon)
These ornaments exemplify the recycled nature of ornaments submitted by Wyoming residents for this year's trees, including a horse shoe, blue jeans pocket, a crushed can angel, and a snow man made from recycled drywall plaster. (US Forest Service photos by Phil Sammon)
These ornaments exemplify the recycled nature of ornaments submitted by Wyoming residents for this year's trees, including a horse shoe, blue jeans pocket, a crushed can angel, and a snow man made from recycled drywall plaster. (US Forest Service photos by Phil Sammon)
Category/Topic: Forestry

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Comments

Wreaths For Door
Mar 07, 2012

What a fantastic story. I had no idea how many ornaments it would take to decorate the Capitol Christmas Tree. 17,000 ornaments is unbelievable. What a great idea to decorate your tree out of recycled items I really like the barbed wire wreath and cowboy boot, very creative.