Stillwater Christmas tree reaches new heights
The holiday lights draw visitors to the heart of Stillwater. Each decoration has been donated, including the tree.
“I think it’s just really fun,” said Jeff Hause, with his wife Missy.
They set out to find the perfect centerpiece for the city, the Christmas tree, every year. The couple starts looking in June or July as they drive around.
This year, they found the perfect tree in Somerset, Wisconsin, where they live.
“I knew that was the one if I could get it,” said Jeff Hause, who said they reached out to a neighbor to locate the property owner.
His neighbor told him, “I’m talking to Charlie right now on the phone” and connected them.
Hause explained they met with the owner and pitched their idea.
“We just told him we’ve been doing the City of Stillwater Christmas tree for the last nine years and it will be our 10th year,” he said. “We really thought their tree would be a great fit for the community this year.”
They’ve been making cold calls and knocking on doors each year for the last decade after Mayor Ted Kozlowski’s mother asked them to find a tree for the city.
“My mom had been always from the time I was a little kid was saying ‘We need a big tree in Stillwater, we need a big tree in Stillwater,’” said Kozlowski.
The Hause’s said yes immediately.
“It just instantly became a figure of a Stillwater event,” said Kozlowski.
The tree is brought in from somewhere new in the area each year.
This year’s tree is the largest at about 50 feet tall. It’s bigger than the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C.
“I was seriously speechless,” said Kozlowski. “You still don’t really appreciate it until you’re standing here to see it.”
A tree service, crane operator and excavating company all donated their time to remove it from the Somerset property, transport it to the city and lift it into its position in the Chestnut Street Plaza.
According to Kozlowski, as many as 200 people played a part in the plaza’s decorations.
“It’s almost 100% community-led effort, it’s all donations,” he said. “It’s magical, the whole thing is magical.”
The tree’s lights were illuminated in a celebration on Saturday.
The Mayor calls it a gift from Santa Hause.
“A lot of people come out and have their picture taken in front of it,” said Missy Hause, who explained that’s her favorite part every year. “Just seeing everybody from the valley or their relatives coming in, or visitors.”
Jeff Hause added, “It’s very gratifying. That’s honestly the best part, seeing the joy people get out of it.”