FORT WORTH– If you have even one Christmas wish tucked away, there’s a tree in Fort Worth that sure could use that extra little blessing. Off of I-30 it stands, endearingly known as the ‘Homeless Christmas Tree.’
Let’s start from the beginning, back at least 30 Christmases ago. The woman who literally wrote the book about the tree, Leslie Gordan, used to pass the tree on her way to work. She, like many Texans, wondered why the tree was decorated, and who did it.
Leslie wrote a story about the tree that she wondered so much about, until one day her husband brought home a news article about it. She found out it was decorated by a homeless woman named Carla. Carla hung decorations on the tree for those, like herself, who are often forgotten on Christmas. The news article explained how Carla was unable to decorate it that year, and called the fire department to help. Leslie says, “The firefighter brought her up the hill once last time to see her tree.”
That act of kindness sparked a tradition. To this day, people still come and keep Carla’s dream alive. Leslie says there is a major lesson the tree is teaching the community. “Care about those who are less fortunate than us at this time of year.”
After learning the real story, Leslie re-wrote her book, and published ‘The Homeless Christmas Tree.’ She donates the proceeds from the book to an area homeless shelter.
Carla and Leslie became friends but sadly, Carla has passed away. The community still keeps Carla’s dream alive. However, we can’t say the same for the tree that’s taken so much wear and tear. A new one, planted alongside, hopes to take the place of the original.
In the meantime, Leslie wants people to be kind and not decorate it. She says it is still too fragile.
Leslie offers more more reminder. If you stop to see the tree, be careful stopping on the freeway.