Landscaping, decorating trees, a traditional part of the holidays | News, Sports, Jobs


News photo by Steve Schulwitz Doug Pratt adjusts a ribbon on one of the 50 Christmas trees on display in his PRATTScape store. He said decorating a tree is like art and there is no right or wrong way to do it.

ALPENA – Christmas trees come in different shapes and sizes. Some are freshly cut from the forest, while others are man-made.

However, they all share one important trait: They all warm the hearts of people who flaunt them during the Christmas season.

For many families, raising and decorating the Christmas tree is a long-standing tradition that strengthens bonds with one another.

The Chroninger family searches for their tree at a Christmas tree farm, cuts it down and eventually decorates it together. Staci Chroninger said it has been a family tradition since she and her husband’s daughters, Taylor and Rachel, were young.

Chroninger said the tree didn’t really have a color scheme or theme, but was covered in family memories and heirlooms.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz Cindy Cebula poses next to one of her nine Christmas trees in her house. She said she liked the way they give the look of her house when decorated and lit.

“There are ornaments that we received as gifts and sentimental items like the children’s first Christmas,” Staci said. “We have adornments that remind us of family members who are no longer with us, and it’s a mix of the old, the new and the future.”

PRATTScape owner Doug Pratt has over 50 fully decorated trees in his store in Alpena and has helped his customers personalize Christmas trees for their homes and businesses.

He said the perfect Christmas tree is in the eye of the beholder. Pratt said that the most basic tree is beautiful, and so is the most elegant. He said decorating a Christmas tree is a type of art and a bare tree is an empty canvas. Once decorated, the end result usually gets a feel for the personality of the person (s) who hung the lights, bulbs and ribbons,

“Art is personal expression, so there’s no right or wrong way to decorate your tree,” said Pratt. “There really is no wrong way to do it.”

Cindy Cebula has nine Christmas trees in her home. She said they varied in size and number of decorations. She said they are all contrived and they love the vibe they give to her house, as well as her grandchildren’s reaction to trees.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz A Christmas tree with gloves, hats and scarves is on display at Banner Realty’s office in Alpena. People can help decorate the tree with winter clothes that will be donated to The Salvation Army.

Margie Haaxma said Christmas is a special time of year for her and her family as she celebrates the birth of her savior Jesus Christ. One of its trees features crowns and crosses in gold, with red lights that gently reflect off the ornaments. Haaxma said that there is no such thing as an ugly Christmas tree and all of them are special.

“All Christmas trees are perfect because they have the heart of whoever decorated them,” she said. “A Christmas tree reminds me that Jesus died for us. He was born as a savior on Christmas and died on the cross so that we have eternal life. That’s what’s special to me about Christmas trees and the holidays.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz A Christmas tree that looked like a dress on a mannequin is on display at PRATTScape in Alpena.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz An outdoors-themed Christmas tree is on display at PRATTScape in Alpena. There are around 50 different trees on display in the store.

News photo by steve schulwitz

News photo by Steve Schulwitz Margie Haaxma shows a gold wreath hanging from a Christmas tree in her office. She said the Christmas trees remind her of Jesus’ birth and the sacrifice he made on the cross.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz The Chroninger family pulls their Christmas tree out of a Christmas tree farm. Felling a fresh tree and decorating it as a family is a long-standing family tradition.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz A Christmas tree adorned with the red, white and blue of the American flag is on display at PRATTScape in Alpena. There are around 50 different trees on display in the store.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz A sports-themed Christmas tree is on display at PRATTScape in Alpena. There are around 50 different trees on display in the store.

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