Nothing sets the mood for the holiday season more than the twinkling lights of a beautifully decorated Christmas tree.
After such a difficult pandemic-ridden year, we all could use an extra jolt of electric “Christmas light magic” to spark our Christmas spirit.
Luckily, the 28th annual Festival of Trees has over 200 one-of-a-kind, decorated trees sure to put even the most Grinch-like person into the holiday spirit.
Upon first entering the Festival of Trees, located at Valley Office Park, 13 Branch St. in Methuen, you are greeted by multiple aisles of decorated trees.
The main room of this event is a perfect forum for these artificial evergreens as the ceilings and walls have mirrors which reflect the thousands of twinkling lights creating a real sense of excitement in the air.
Off the main viewing room is a gift shop and smaller display room for miniature trees and holiday wreaths.
Trees vary in height from tabletop to upwards of 12 feet, each decorated with its own unique design theme.
Standout themes for this year's trees include Movie Night, Let it Snow, The Nutcracker, and the Boston Bruins.
The most innovative tree displays are often created with “thinking outside the box” ideas such as the Cinderella-themed tree shaped like the princess’s iconic, blue gown, or the Snowman Tree sporting a carrot nose, top hat and scarf.
For those who prefer to dream of a tropical Christmas, The Margaritaville tree is a great escape from the traditional New England white Christmas.
Lit in bright green lights, this tree is complete with surfboard and four-foot tall parrot. Under this tree you will find all the fixings for the perfect margarita, including a new blender.
The Nightmare Before Christmas-themed tree is perfect for those who love to celebrate Halloween straight through to the New Year. This tree features purple lights and ghoulish characters from the animated movie with the same name.
To make designs more competitive, all trees are judged in a variety of categories, with decisions made by a panel of four judges.
This year's judging panel comes from the Village Studio of North Andover, and all awards are prominently displayed next to the winning trees and wreaths.
To add even more fun to this event, this is an interactive event for the whole family, as all tree and wreath displays will be raffled off on the last night of the festival (Saturday, Dec. 4).
A book of 26 tickets can be purchased at the same time as the admission ticket purchase, or anytime during your visit to the festival.
Each display has its own ticket box, so it is fun and easy to drop your raffle tickets into the box to try and win your favorite trees.
When making the crucial decision as to which tree is your favorite, be sure to check out what is under the trees as well as the decorations on the trees. Many tree displays include extra gifts under or on the tree that match the theme of the tree, such as gift cards, lottery tickets, food and gift items, and toys.
This added bonus may make it difficult to decide on a favorite, so luckily you can try to win as many trees as you would like.
Admission to the festival is $10 per person, and children under 12 are free. A book of 26 raffle tickets is $5 per book, and the festival will be open daily until Dec. 4.
The proceeds from the Festival of Trees provide funding to preserve the heritage and historical monuments of Methuen and the surrounding communities in the Merrimack Valley area.
Some of the preservation projects funded by this holiday event include Winnekenni Castle in Methuen, The Whistler House in Lowell, Stevens Library in Andover, Bennet Public Library in Billerica, Rocks Village Handtub House in Haverhill, and multiple historic church buildings throughout the area.
All trees and wreath displays are donated by private citizens and families, community and civic clubs, and local businesses.
Due to COVID-19, last year’s event was held virtually online, but this year is back in person and promises to be better than ever.
In past years, thousands of visitors have come to see this tannenbaum extravaganza, which often caused large crowds and long lines.
To eliminate overcrowding, admission tickets are now sold in 20 minute increments and attendance is limited.
For those still not comfortable to venture into a public event, a virtual tour is available online.
This year, start the season off with the magic of the Festival of Trees. This fun and interactive event offers something for everyone, and if you're lucky, you could win that perfect tree with all the trimmings to take home and enjoy for years to come.
For more information on in-person ticket reservations and the virtual tour, visit www.methuenfestivaloftrees.com.