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A Christmas Memory Tree

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The tree has more than 900 ornaments The tree has more than 900 ornaments
Jerry Abel says it takes about three days to put it up and about 3 to take it down. Jerry Abel says it takes about three days to put it up and about 3 to take it down.
The Christmas tree is 7 and 1/2 feet tall, and it measures six feet across at the bottom The Christmas tree is 7 and 1/2 feet tall, and it measures six feet across at the bottom

Rick Wells, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Christmas was a week ago and no doubt all the Christmas stories for 2010 have been done. 

Not so fast.  I got a letter from a viewer about a Christmas tree with more than 900 ornaments.  So I hit the road for one more Christmas memory.   

The letter said the tree is 7 and 1/2 feet tall, and it measures six feet across at the bottom. 

"It gets prettier every year because we keep adding, adding to it," said Jerry Abel. 

Jerry Abel and his wife Dixie have been accumulating these ornaments and adding to the collection for the last ten years or so. 

One ornament is one of her favorites. Dixie says they found it in a bag of old ornaments at a thrift store and it looks like it has a memory with it. 

That's why you all call this a memory tree, not necessarily your memory. 

"Our memories because we feel like we are carrying it on," said Jerry Abel. 

The tree has more than 900 ornaments; he knows that because he's counted 'em.

Keeps 'em in two big tubs, 500 in one the rest in the other. 

Jerry says it takes about three days to put it up and about 3 to take it down. 

"Two days of football and one night of all night movies," said Jerry Abel. 

Putting it together is a real engineering project.  It is an artificial tree and he puts in the bottom row of limbs and then starts building in the ornaments from the inside out. 

He puts the lights on, there are 8 strings, puts them on as the tree gets assembled from the bottom up. 

One of his favorites is Santa Claus. 

"The head was off of it.  I put a dowel down the middle and stuck the head back on," said Jerry Abel. 

They believe many of the ornaments particularly the handmade ones like a doll tree need to be part of a Christmas tree somewhere so they rescue them and make them part of theirs. 

They told me they'll begin cruising the thrift stores next week.   That's usually when the old ornaments begin to show up.

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