Gale’s Tree Lighting Memories

Gale Mace has been a long-time Seven Lakes resident, having had her hand in a couple of local businesses as well as raise her children in the area – all of whom are now adults.

In past years when the children were young, Gale and her husband would take them up to see the annual Seven Lakes Christmas Tree Lighting.  They began attending these events around 1981.

“We used to have hot chocolate and Santa and the sleigh,” she said.

Harris Printing still stores the sleigh for the annual event, and when more new businesses came in, many of them participated in the event.

“When Lee-Moore Insurance came in, they and some of the store fronts used to serve things,” Gale explained.  “Tyler’s dad (who used to run Lee-Moore before Tyler was old enough) would have cookies and hot chocolate in the lobby on the counter.”

While Seven Lakes was still a growing community, everyone knew their neighbors and would enjoy the event.  They would congregate by the Christmas tree to watch the lighting and sing Christmas carols.

“Everybody knew everybody back then,” Gale said.

When Gale’s daughter, Lisa, came home from college, the tree lighting had stopped.  Lisa wanted Seven Lakes to experience Christmas the way she had for years as a child.

“I went to the president of the Business Guild at the time, and she said Lisa and I could start doing it,” Gale said.  “It got to the point where I got people who set up booths and light them up.  We got a hay wagon and that kind of stuff.  It’s been great!”

Gale has assumed a good portion of responsibility for the event and has loved getting families together every year.

In recent years, the event has had a smores bar, coffee from McDonald’s, chips and salsa from Casa Garcia (now Casa Santa Ana), hay wagon rides by Burney Hardware, and music/announcing from Randy at the Shell Station.  There would be dancing, entertainers, and, of course, a visit from Santa.

Unfortunately, with this year’s COVID-19 outbreak, the usual tree lighting festivities will not take place.  The tree lights will be set to turn on December 1st and stay on throughout the holidays.

“We just decided this year the tree will be there for people to enjoy.  There will be no gathering,” Gale said.  “I would love to do it, but everything is so iffy.  I hate it, but maybe things will be better next year.”