Big tree delivers childlike perspective

By Hank Lohmeyer


Big tree delivers childlike perspective | Cedaredge, Christmas

Photo by Hank Lohmeyer The handmade ornaments that Glenn and Randi Byrne have fashioned for the big Christmas tree in their NE Columbine yard create the feelings of Santa's workshop and a kid's first Christmas.

Combine a big love for the Christmas season, a big imagination, and a big, nearly 50-foot-tall pine tree in the front yard and you have the makings for a Santa's workshop holiday setting that is unique and delightful.

Glenn and Randi Byrne have made their front yard pine tree the focus of a Christmas decorating celebration that will make even a holiday-weary adult experience once again the feelings of their first Christmas.

The tree ornaments they have fabricated from everyday materials in their garage are bigger than life-sized. They appear to an adult as they might appear to a toddler first experiencing the magic of the Christmas holiday. The full effect comes when viewed up close -- the perspective transports adults back to their first Christmas as a child.

Glenn and Randi are retired from the electrical construction business. They decided three years ago to put some of their professional fabricating skills to work and created a holiday display of big candy ornaments and hung them on their big pine tree.

"We rented a 40-foot man lift from Hotchkiss Rentals," to get the lights and other ornaments up to the tree's tip top highest boughs, Glenn explained.

The tree has grown a bit since then. And so this year the couple needed a lift that would take them 50 feet off the ground in order to reach the top. Up there on the very top is a handmade, lighted star that they fabricated from steel pencil rod, a material familiar to the Brynes from their construction business days.

Where does such enthusiasm for the holiday come from?

"It's all her imagination," Glenn says, smiling as he gestures toward his wife standing beside him.

Randi, also with a big Christmas smile, explained further, "It's the kid in me. Some of us just never grow up."

Glenn and Randi make the ornaments in their garage using a simple jigsaw. They cut the shapes for airplanes and trains out of wood and paint them. One ornament on the tree is a kid's snow sled. It was easy to make because they just used a sled they had on hand as a template, traced the shape on a piece of thin plywood, and cut it out with the jigsaw. The sled ornament is normal-sized; but when placed on their tree it takes on a bigger-than-life dimension as it might be experienced by a wide-eyed child.

Toy wagon ornaments are recycled shipping crates with wheels made from the black plastic lids of coffee containers. The coffee containers themselves are also "recycled" and made into toy drum ornaments that hang from the tree.

Other creative uses for common objects have become part of Randi's imaginative ornament-making enterprise. For example, giant lollipops are made with rolled up "swim noodles" that kids play with at the pool in summer. There are giant brand-name candy bars sure to spark the envy of youngsters viewing the display.

Glenn and Randi used simple three-quarter-inch PVC tubing and assembled it using elbows and other parts into realistic-looking tricycles. The wheels are made from cardboard cutouts, and tires are fashioned from foam insulation for water pipes that's even the right gray color to represent rubber.

Others are getting into the fun, too. Randi said that the couple is expecting to have family visiting during the holidays. They have all been asked to contribute something to the tree ornament collection, and so the display can be expected to grow throughout the holiday season.

The towering tree is easy to find, day or night. It is located on the cul-de-sac on NE Columbine, just off NE 4th Street.

In the daytime the tree delights visitors with its collection of big ornaments. At night the tree is a towering testament to the feelings of the season.

Towering almost 50 feet tall, the holiday-inspired colored light strings are visible from locations above Cedaredge on the highway. They shine like a beacon, leading those with the feeling of Christmas, like the feelings that Glenn and Randi have, to express and amplifiy the happiness of the season.