Susan's mom asked her to get a Christmas tree. Sue thought about it, and decided a plastic tree from the local mart would be easy, and re-usable. She picked out a small tree, some ornaments, lights and tinsel. Sue rued the thought of having to not only put up the tree, but to also take down the tree.

With the tree, Christmas had a bit of Sparkle City, and New year's day was OK. They popped a cork and watched the ball go down on TV.

In late January the Christmas tree was still there, looking incongruous. Susan thought about taking it down. Her mom nagged her to get the tree put away. Susan said, "Yeah, mom, don't worry. I'll take care of it."

Susan changed her mind and determined to celebrate Ground Hog day. She painted ground hog sock puppets, printed pictures of ground hogs, and created the Ground Hog tree. The family did not fully appreciate this turn of events.

Sue started looking up special days to do things with the tree. She discovered "White T-Shirt Day" and saw some little doll T-shirts to put on her ground hogs. Unfortunately, Sue read "White T-Shirt" as "Wet T-Shirt", and decided to put on a show for dad, who was amused. Mom was not.

When Valentine's day rolled around, she re-did the tree with red hearts and heart-shaped helium balloons. The Valentine's Day tree looked good. The only problem with it came after the family went out to dinner. The heart balloons moved around when the central heating came on, and set off the alarm system's motion detector. Dad got a call on his cell-phone, from the alarm company, then another from the police.

In March, she rearranged the tree with beads and baubles from past visits to New Orleans Mardi Gras. The Mardi Gras tree was rocking. For Saint Patrick's day, she covered the tree with clover and leprechauns, cut from green construction paper. The family was starting to get used to the ever-changing tree.

On April Fool's day, Sue hung the tree upside down from the ceiling and tagged it with question marks. That was a pretty big hit.

At the Spring equinox, sun circles were cut from bright yellow paper. On Easter week, bunnies and eggs appeared on the tree; On Mother's day, pictures of mom; Memorial day was memorable-- with several little tombstones, each with someone's name; Father's day-- many pictures of dad, and a couple of the gopher's little white T's, for a laugh. The summer solstice was back to sun circles cut from bright yellow paper.

July 4 was easy. The tree bore stars and stripes. Later, Air Force, Coast Guard and Friendship days brought various military symbols and banners, and pictures of friends.

The Halloween tree, predictably, had orange pumpkins, gray ghosts, and witches riding broomsticks. For Veteran's day, Sue re-used military memorabilia. At Thanksgiving, she put little turkeys and pumpkin pies all over the tree. The family had gotten used to the ever-changing celebration tree.

The next Christmas, Sue realized she had a tree, and the tree had her.

It's plastic. But Sue knows this tree can turn Christmas, or any special day, into the real Sparkle City.

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