Vesna Glisovic of Morton Grove is sending the City of Chicago a very special holiday greeting this year.
A 55-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce that stood on the front lawn of her family’s home for many decades has been selected to be this year’s official city Christmas tree, it was announced Friday morning. The tree, selected from nearly 80 entries in the city’s annual Christmas tree hunt, will be making its new home in Millennium Park for the holiday season.
Vesna and her husband, Mike, both from Serbia, moved into their Morton Grove home in 1990 and found the young spruce tree — barely taller than her husband at the time — to be a perfect component of their landscape, especially during the holidays.
“We would decorate it with Christmas lights every year,” she said. “But then it just grew so tall that we couldn’t decorate it anymore.”
The tree was beloved by the family nonetheless, as it became the “beautiful backdrop” for many of their celebrations.
“We would take pictures on holidays and for graduations, in front of it, and when our son got married in the middle of December, he and his wife came here to take their photos, opening a bottle of champagne right in front of it, to celebrate the day. So we have just loved the tree,” Glisovic said.
Glisovic said she had thought of entering the tree contest for several years but never did. This year she decided it was time as it was becoming apparent the tree was in its twilight years and would need to come down anyway.
“It’s a fully matured tree, so we started fearing it would be knocked down in a storm or by winds,” she said. “It reached old age. It was time.”
Glisovic said her family are Orthodox Christian, so they follow the “old calendar” (the Julian calendar), which means Christmas is commemorated on Jan. 7, though the season’s celebration begins on Dec 25. She’s happy the tree will be shared with everyone who celebrates the holiday season regardless of the date.
“I’m just happy to make others happy when they see it all decorated and lit up,” she said.
And yes, the family plans to replace the departing tree in a very special way.
“We are going to replant the spot with a beautiful Serbian blue spruce,” Glisovic said. “The trees originated in Serbia in the region where my husband is from. As soon as we can find one, we will plant it in the same spot.”
A city of Chicago crew is set to arrive at her home Friday morning to cut down the tree, place it atop a flatbed truck via a crane and make the 16-mile or so trek to Millennium Park, where it will be unloaded, and then decorated in the coming days.
The tree-lighting ceremony kicks off at 6 p.m. on Nov. 18. The tree will be on display through Jan. 8 near Michigan Avenue and Washington Street. More information about the tree lighting and related live entertainment for the event will be made public in a few weeks.
“I’m so happy to share our tree with the world, and be part of this tradition,” Glisovic said.