Drivers passing by on this Canadian highway might be surprised to see a scrawny little fir tree alight with Christmas lights on a hill in the middle of nowhere—but for many people in the community, the tree is a very familiar sight.
For the last 20 years, Ed McHugh has been stringing 590 feet (180 meters) of extension cords from his home in Bedford, Nova Scotia so he can illuminate the little tree on the hill.
McHugh was first inspired to decorate the tree back in 2000 because it closely resembled the iconic tree from The Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Upon deciding that the tree just “needed a little love”, McHugh ran to the store, bought several extension cords, and ran them up to the tree.
“Some people talk about him being a little beacon as they drive home in the evenings from work,” McHugh told CBC. “He stands out in the dark because there’s no houses along here so as you drive along the highway you go, ‘How the heck did that get there?’”
The tree-lighting has now become a beloved tradition for the community. Every year, hundreds of neighbors and local families gather around the “Charlie” tree to sing carols and celebrate the tree-lighting, and the youngest in attendance is usually invited to plug in the lights. After the tree is lit, everyone is invited back to the McHugh’s house for a Christmas party.
The tree then stays lit until January 6th—and the town is always looking forward to seeing his lights on the isolated little hill.
“I just love doing this and I love the reaction from people,” McHugh told the news outlet. “People complain about the commercialism of Christmas, but that’s only if you go that way. For me, this is exactly what Christmas should be. It can be about simple little things that make people smile.”
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