History of Madison Family’s Christmas Tree


John Gorman

If you’ve been around town in the past couple of weeks, you may recognize the festively decorated tree that is currently standing strong at 35 feet tall on Waverly Place in the center of town. But did you know that this tree was once inside someone’s living room? Interestingly enough, the tree actually started as an MHS faculty member’s family tree Christmas tree back in 1976, and at only 3 feet tall at the time, could fit comfortably inside of their house. The owner, Jim Butler, who just so happens to be our very own Mr. Oswin’s grandfather, bought the tree, thinking little of it at the time and decorated it for that year’s holiday season. He ended up caring for the tree through the winter and eventually moved it into his yard the following spring where it would stay and receive care for the following forty odd years. Mr. Butler took it upon himself to decorate the tree every year to celebrate the holiday. Eventually, he had to begin using a slingshot to shoot the strings of lights to the top of the tree, as it had grown too high to reach, even with a ladder. The tree stood and grew for about forty-three years, until it was cut down earlier this winter to be graciously donated to the town. Originally, Mr. Butler was conflicted about parting with the tree, as it had become very sentimental to him and his family over the years. Ultimately, he decided to go through with the donation, as he considered it an honor to help the town he loves. In an interview conducted over the phone with Mr. Butler, he explains that the Christmas tree was cherished by his family and neighbors for 43 years, and he feels a great sense of pride that the Christmas tree will provide joy to the entire town of Madison for one last time. The tree is located on Waverly Place, right behind the iconic clock, and has been decorated by the town to kick off the holiday season. Mr. Butler’s tree exemplifies true Madisonian spirit, as Madison is known for its generosity towards its people and commitment to celebrating Christmas traditions.