NASHUA -- It was a bittersweet moment for Doug and Mary Elliott on Thursday as they watched the enormous white fir tree in their front yard being hauled away by a crane.
"I really don't think it would make it through the winter, unfortunately," said Doug Elliott, explaining the small concolor tree planted about 20 years ago has grown tremendously fast.
As it continues to grow closer to Indian Fern Drive, he fears the tree will be significantly damaged by a snowplow truck this winter. As a result, the couple decided to donate the beautiful tree to the City of Nashua for its 20th annual Winter Holiday Stroll later this month.
"I hate to see it go, but it is time," said Doug Elliott, who joined his wife as they watched a team from Pioneer Tree Service in Hollis remove the lower branches, cut the trunk of the tree and lift it up with a crane.
Mary Elliott says the tree will serve as the perfect holiday tree for the city.
"I can't wait to see it all lit up for the Christmas stroll," she said.
The tree was cut down on Thursday morning and moved — with a police escort — to Main Street aside the Hunt Memorial Building on Library Hill. In the next two weeks, city workers will decorate the 30-foot high tree with lights that will be lit during the holiday stroll event on Nov. 30.
"We don't want to flip the switch on it," said Mary Elliott, who requested that the city locate a group of children to do the honors. Christmas is all about the children, she said, explaining it will be nice to be in the crowd and hear all of the "oohs and aahs" when the tree is finally illuminated.
Although it is sad to have an empty space in the front yard, Mary Elliott said she plans to plant another concolor tree in the same location, and joked that in another 20 years they can again donate the city's holiday tree.
Nick Caggiano, superintendent of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, says he worries each year about finding a holiday tree to put on display downtown.
"But every year the phone rings," he said, adding this year's tree is larger than usual. It also smells like a typical Christmas tree, noted Caggiano as he took a needle, broke it in half and smelled it.
Mary Elliott described the tree as kind, with soft bristles that are gentle to the touch. The tree grew up with her son, who is now an adult and living on his own, she said, adding it stirs a lot of family memories.
She is pleased that the tree will be used to bring some festive and holiday ambiance to Nashua's Main Street, and is thrilled the family was able to play a small role in the city's upcoming holiday event.
More than 50 performers will be on hand for the holiday stroll, which will kick off at 5 p.m. Nov. 30 with a candlelight procession at Nashua City Hall. The tree will be lit at 5:30 p.m.