50 year Christmas family tradition comes to an end - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

50 year Christmas family tradition comes to an end

MARMADUKE, AR (KAIT) -

Many families take part in traditions around the holidays, and for one Region 8 family, a 50 year tradition is coming to an end.

The Priest family of Marmaduke said their tradition is wrapped around what stands above the presents.

“The first year, of course it was new,” Alla Jean Priest said. “I thought that was the prettiest tree I ever seen.”

Priest bought the tree in 1964 at the Otasco store in Paragould, and it's not made like trees today.

“Each branch is separate,” Priest said. “There's a hundred branches on it. You've got to get them in there straight or they'll twist.”

She paid $15 for the six-foot tall lifelike evergreen tree. Priest said, back then, that was a high price for a tree.

With special care, Priest has managed to keep the tree and its original box in fine condition. She said not one of the 100 branches is missing or broken.

“It goes to prove taking care of things will help you,” Priest said.

To the Priest family, though, it's not really about the tree. She said the memories with her grandchildren and family are really what the tree symbolizes.

“When the grandkids were little they really enjoyed it, and they got so excited about their gifts,” Priest said. “So that helps you to enjoy it.”

It's all about the family, and Priest said the tree is filled with a lifetime of memories that she is blessed to have.

“It's a special day,” Priest said. “I've always had my family with me on Christmas where a lot of people don't have their family.”

This will be the last year Priest puts up her tree. She said since her husband's passing, it's a lot to do on her own.

“He helped me with the lights and getting them straight and everything,” Priest said. “I just can't get down like I used to.”

She plans to take down the tree and pass it along to one of her grandchildren. She hopes by doing so it will keep the 50 year family tradition alive for many years to come.

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