Janice Burton goes all out to continue delightful tradition

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: JANICE REYNOLDS - Janice Burton reaches high to adjust an ornament on Moody Blues, her 2012 holiday tree for city hall.This time of year a steady procession of Lake Oswego employees trek up to the third floor of city hall to check out Janice Burton’s holiday tree.

Burton has been putting up the tree now for 20 years, going to much personal expense and effort to give something beautiful every December, and she has definitely scored again with Moody Blues, her theme for 2012. Upon viewing the tree, one wants to sing “Blue Christmas.”

“It’s just fun,” said Burton in explaining why she puts up the tree every holiday season.

The reason she started this tree tradition is that 20 years ago she didn’t have enough room for both a Christmas tree and herself in her home.

“I had just moved to a new place and it was pretty small,” Burton said. “So, I asked the city manager if I could put up a tree next to his office.”

With Burton a tree is more than a tree. Instead of dragging out all of the old lights and ornaments, Burton gets very creative and comes up with something new and special each year.

“I have a different theme every year,” she said. “It’s never the same.”

Burton’s past themes include: Asia (it had a Japanese doll on top), the Great Outdoors, the Great American West, candy canes, copper and bronze, the Celestial Tree, By the Seashore, the North Pole, Around the World with 80 Ornaments and, now, blue for 2012. The current tree looks good at a short distance, and it looks even better close up when one can examine the many beautiful ornaments.

Burton has fun, but she also works hard on her holiday creation.

“My garage is full of ornaments,” she said. “In this case I thought up the theme first. I just knew it was going to be pretty.”

Moody Blues fulfills Burton’s first rule of tree trimming: “When the lights go off the tree should still look fabulous. Most holiday trees don’t have nearly enough ornaments.”

When she is not trimming holiday trees, Burton’s job is running the mail and copying service for the city. But the tree is always on her mind.

“I tinker with it a lot,” she said.

It helps that Burton’s tree makes the other city employees happy.

“We love it,” said her friend, Janice Reynolds. “I always make sure I go to visit the tree.”

Meanwhile, Burton is already planning ahead for 2013.

“I’m going ornament shopping after Christmas,” she said. “There’s going to be 75 percent off the prices.”

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