Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The winds of December topple holiday trees December 6, 2021

The Holiday Tree Display in Faribault, late Sunday afternoon, when winds tipped trees. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)

WICKED WINDS SWEEPING from the northwest into Faribault Sunday afternoon into Monday brought more than cold temps. The strong winds also toppled Christmas trees displayed in Central Park.

Tipped tree. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)
Fallen ornaments atop a Christmas tree skirt. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)
Fallen snowman tree. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)

Randy and I headed out to view the Holiday Tree Display, a project of the City of Faribault Parks and Recreation Department, after the Vikings game. When we pulled up, we observed numerous trees lying on the ground, ornaments littering the lawn, tree toppers askew.

A member of the Wunderlich family stands near the tree (left front) he and his sister donated. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)
A cross tops the tree donated by the Wunderlich family. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)
Tubes of sand anchor a tree. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)

Several tree sponsors arrived to deal with the unexpected damage. A Wunderlich family member who, along with his sister set up a tree honoring loved ones and community members who died of cancer, headed across the street to Ace Hardware for sandbags. I noticed sandbags anchoring several trees. And when two women came to upright their trees, Randy and I convinced them to let the trees lie given the prevailing winds.

Randy chats Sunday afternoon with a member of the Wunderlich family. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)
Even though toppled onto the ground, this star topper still shines. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)
A particularly beautifully-decorated tree. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)

When Randy drove by the holiday display Monday morning on his way to work, he reported more trees down with only perhaps 10 of the 34 still standing. Winds still blew, with the temp dipping into the single digits. It feels a lot like winter now. No snow here, though. But central and northern Minnesota got enough to create travel issues and necessitate late school starts.

Across the street, the beautiful, historic Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour provides a lovely backdrop. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)

Ah, Minnesota. I expect next year precautions will be taken to keep those holiday trees standing straight.

An unusual tree sponsor name. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)
So many beautiful ornaments. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)
Grey against grey. A rustic star. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)

This is only the second year of a project which spreads Christmas joy. All trees are sponsored and decorated by local businesses, organizations, civic groups, etc., and then donated to families/individuals without a tree. It’s a great idea, one which garnered the 2020 Minnesota Recreation and Park Association Award of Excellence for Faribault Parks and Rec.

In the grey of a December day, this red star brings light. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)

I feel thankful to live in a community of generosity.

Found among the ornaments. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021.)

None of us ever knows when strong winds will sweep into our lives and knock us down. None of us ever knows when we will need the kindness of others to uplift us, to help us stand, to support us. To give us hope. There is something to be learned from wicked winter winds. We need one another, even if sometimes we think we don’t.

Photographed Sunday afternoon. All trees have now been placed upright. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2021)

FYI: The trees have now been placed upright and staked, and will be displayed until December 10.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “The winds of December topple holiday trees”

  1. Bernadette Arlene Thomasy Says:

    So great to read that the trees are given to local families who might not be able to have a tree. Lovely community project.

  2. Sandra Says:

    Loving your holiday posts, yes, trees are flying off the lots….glad ultimately these trees were uprighted to glow again. I watched the tv YT videos on this display and the parade. By next year a creative person will have constructed attractive, weighted tree stands, but sand works too. We had wind. I only do a small, real tabletop patio tree now, color glows until spring. It took flight. A little snow helps. Be another 2 weeks of concert rehearsals before can relax, enjoy. About singing in masks. Church has mandated for the Christmas festival audience, so glad! Do NOT need sick! Going briefly to Tucson mid-Jan. Merry blessed Christmas to you and yours!

    • Sandra, I hope your treetop tree is now securely in place. As I write, snow falls gently, as if the world is a snow globe. It’s beautiful. I can write that because I don’t need to be out and about.

      How wonderful you can get a respite from winter in January.

      I’m thankful to hear your church is REQUIRING masks. I haven’t seen that yet at Trinity; masks are only “recommended.” This will mark the third Christmas in a row that I won’t attend a church service. Not because I don’t want to worship. But last year was COVID and this year, too, and the year prior I was ill. Maybe in 2022? I’m trying to be hopeful that this pandemic will be behind us by next December.

      • Sandra Says:

        Actually, required is only for this week’s music festival with so many visitors coming, but staff was mandated back in Oct. which included choirs and other musicians when leading worship. Also the church task force started wearing big name tags, not sure they ever said anything to anyone, but have been very visible, made some strong calls on event and worship go/no go. The message took a while, but now in church, hard to see someone barefaced in worship, in the big facility for anything. Daughter calls it mask-shaming. More than one way to get a message across. Daughter and hubby were in Fargo last week for a family funeral several days. Not a mask in sight, guess small towns think they’re immune. Love the fireworks pictures, you must have been on 2nd or 3rd St. bridge facing SW. Nice to see the river come alive, was just a junk heap, even Teepee-Tonka. We’re having snow globe snow too. Soft and pretty!

      • Sandra, my sense of direction, even after living in Faribault for nearly 40 years, is not good. I’m used to the straight grid of the prairie. I was on the footbridge just down from The Depot. That whole green space near the viaduct is now slated to become a city park. I think it’s a grand idea.

        I’m sorry to hear about the no masking in Fargo. I would have thought, given what I consider to be a larger-sized city, that people would be masking. I know of two deaths of unvaccinated individuals linked to attending a funeral for a person who died of COVID. Not in Faribault, but in a neighboring community. I wish restrictions still existed on funerals. The general public in Faribault overwhelmingly does NOT mask. That seems the standard outside the metro, unfortunately.

  3. I absolutely love this idea to have a display that eventually gets donated to families. Perfect idea. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    Those winds were crazy. I was sad to see the fallen trees in your post. So frustrating for those who had them all set up so nice for display.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.