OVALO, Texas - If you've driving on U.S. 83 between Ovalo and Bradshaw during the Christmas season, a particular cedar on the side of the road may catch your attention.
Known as the "Christmas Tree for All," this south Texas cedar has been decorated for Christmas for the last 30 years.
The tree is covered with trinkets and knickknacks left by folks from all over the country.
Zipping down U.S. 83, something out of the ordinary catches your eye.
It all started when Easter Hothan, 86, and a life-long resident of the Big Country who lived on the land, wanted to do something fun to entertain her grandchildren.
The tree almost met its demise when the Highway Department wanted to cut it down.
"So I went to them and pleaded that they save that little tree and they had a request to do so and so they did save that tree," Hothan said. "When they digged down under that tree, it just flourished."
Now standing at nearly 20 feet tall, people from all over the country hang everything on the tree from license plates to milk jug doves to vegetable can tops.
"I think it makes them feel full of Christmas cheer and love for their people who have gone on," Hothan said. "It has memories for everybody. It brings everyone together. Cars honk as they pass. That shows me that they get a kick out of it. They're happy to see it happening again."
Hothan said looking at the tree fills her with love and she thanks God for the blessing.
"The first honor of this Christmas spirit should go to God for creating this earth and placing my parents [there] to raise their family and then allowing that little tree to grow in Easter's portion of the 365-acre farm," Hothan said.
Decorating the tree is a lot of work, and Hothan said her family should stop the tradition after she passes on.
"They have my permission to do so," she said.
Hothan said at one point, she counted over 700 ornaments on the tree.
A song has been written and produced about the tree, but right now, only the family has a copy.
Next time you're driving down U.S. 83, stop and take it all in; you'll be thankful you did.
Who knew a cedar in the middle-of-nowhere Texas could offer the overwhelming feeling of what Christmas is truly all about?
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