For a decade now, hundreds of families in Flower Mound have made a holiday tradition out of decorating roadside trees.
Drive through town and you’ll find medians lined with tinsel, ornaments and in some cases, lights.
It started with Kim Berg, who named the initiative S.T.A.R. or Sad Tree Along Roadway, and each year it’s grown.
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"It's catching on, and I think it's just the simplest way to make people realize what they have and be glad for it,” said Berg.
But this year, there was a problem when the tradition reached Highland Village.
After a couple of trees were draped in red, the city issued an announcement via Facebook:
“We appreciate the enthusiasm and desire to decorate the City, however, City Code prohibits placing privately owned items like holiday decorations in the public right-of-way. Besides, it's just not safe. Code Enforcement will be enforcing the code and removing the decorations. Not to be a complete Scrooge, if you want to see holiday decorations in other places, watch here for the Parade of Lights Holiday Lighting Contest winners.”
“How are you going to tell a little kid that you can’t go out and make other people happy in the simplest manner?” said Berg.
After the post was shared in the Help a S.T.A.R. Facebook page, which is 1,000 members strong, Highland Village got wind of the concern. And in less than 24 hours, had a change of heart.
Part of the post read:
"Highland Village, we apologize. Last night we were visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future. When we woke up and looked in the mirror we saw Scrooge.”
"I was the Scrooge,” said Mayor Charlotte Wilcox.
Just like old Ebenezer, Wilcox saw the error in her ways.
Her goal was, and still is, to keep people safe.
But once she learned she'd squashed tradition, she not only apologized. She rehung the tinsel herself.
"We all make mistakes and here in Highland Village, we own those mistakes, we correct those mistakes and we move forward,” said Wilcox.
After all, now more than ever, we could use a little cheer.
"We all need a little joy and happiness this year,” said Wilcox.
For those who do choose to decorate, the city asks:
- Avoid trees on roads managed by TxDOT which are FM 407 and FM 2499. Choose a less busy, safer roadway.
- Be sure your decorations do not block visibility and don’t endanger yourself or others to decorate the tree.
- Please secure all decorations so they can withstand all types of weather and remove the decorations on your tree on or before January 3.