Family creates Tinsel Trail tree every year in 3-year-old’s memory

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. –  Huntsville continued tradition of bringing holiday cheer to Big Spring Park kicks off this week. The Tinsel Trail is a free annual event featuring trees sponsored and decorated by people in our community.

It doesn’t officially open to the public until Friday, but people have been out there decorating their trees.

The installation is all about joy, and each tree has a story. There are already so many different creative ideas from businesses and organizations. Then there are a few special trees that create joy in honor of someone’s memory.

It’s Cindy Jackson’s seventh year to decorate a Tinsel Trail tree in downtown Huntsville. Every detail of her tree is carefully completed to honor 3-year-old Caden Moriarty.

“My son passed away in 2011 and it happened to be the same year they started the Tinsel Trail,” said Cindy Jackson.

She uses the opportunity to create joy out of sadness and to keep her son’s memory alive.

“He was three years old. He drowned in a family member’s pool,” said Jackson.

Jackson says the tree is different every year and it keeps getting more elaborate. This year they have created a carousel tree for Caden.

“We started building it last week. I started buying horses, rocking horses off Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace from people and then painting them to look like the carousel horses at Bridge Street,” said Jackson.

She says for her and many others, the Tinsel Trail is more than just decorating a tree.

“The first year I think maybe his was the only memorial tree. Or there were very few. And then every year we have seen more and more,” said Jackson.

Jackson, like many others, hopes to use this to spread both love and joy this holiday season.

“Santa’s here today and they came over and I was talking to them and was like, I don’t have a little one anymore but I think it’s awesome that they do this,” said Jackson.

The Tinsel Trail will officially kick off with a lighting celebration this Friday.  It’s free to attend and starts at 6:00 p.m. with a special holiday welcome Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

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