I'm pretty shocked of what it really grew into. It was the perfect tree. —Chuck Stackhouse
HOLLADAY — This year's city Christmas tree is a gift — for the second time in its life.
In 1980, 10-year-old Chuck Stackhouse and his mother, Camille, made a quick trip to Cottonwood Mall to see Santa Claus.
"I wasn't really that kid that enjoyed seeing Santa, but I got forced to go," Chuck Stackhouse said.
The shy boy reluctantly sat on Santa's lap and received an unconventional gift — a blue spruce sapling. "I'm talking like 6 inches, teeny little saplings with little red tin foil around it," Stackhouse said.
"We brought it home and planted it in our backyard," said his father, Bob Stackhouse. "That thing just contined to grow."
For three decades, the tree grew until it reached more than 30 feet tall.
Then last week, the Stackhouses saw an advertisement that the city of Holladay was searching for the perfect Christmas tree.
City event coordinator Michele Bohling received about 10 tree offers this year, but she said only one stood out. "The minute we pulled up and saw it, I was like, 'This is it. We're going to get it,'" she said.
It took crews a little wrangling and a slow drive to its final destination about 7 miles away, but now it stands on the plaza at Holladay City Hall.
Chuck Stackhouse, who now has a son of his own, said the tree he originally received as a little boy is exactly where it was always meant to be — cherished this holiday season for everyone in the community to enjoy.
Holladay will host a tree-lighting ceremony on Monday at 7 p.m. on the plaza, 4580 S. 2300 East. Stackhouse's son, Caden, will flip the switch to turn on the 18,000-plus lights.
"I'm pretty shocked of what it really grew into," Stackhouse said. "It was the perfect tree."
Contributing: Robert Trishman