- Courtesy Photo
- Lost Christmas tree ornaments
Each January, the public works team in the village of Essex Junction picks up discarded Christmas trees and takes them to a lumberyard where they're ground into wood chips.
But a few years ago, an employee found an ornament still attached to a tree. It was clay and clearly made by a child, with their handprint on the back, recalled Rick Jones, the department's superintendent. Eager to return the ornament to its owner, the employee turned it in to the village offices; someone there posted a picture of it on Facebook. A local TV news channel even reported on the search.
Despite the publicity, the rightful owner never came forward, and the ornament still resides at the village offices. But the annual scavenger hunt lives on. Earlier this month, while picking up some 800 trees left curbside, the public works department found eight ornaments. Again, someone posted them to the EssexVT Community Group page.
Three have since been claimed: a star with a woman's name on it; two Danforth Pewter mittens attached by a piece of ribbon; and an angel on a rocking horse with the name "Abbie" inscribed on the back. The owners were thrilled to retrieve the ornaments.
"I like the fact that we're able to ... bring a little bit of joy to someone [who] maybe didn't even realize that they were missing it," said Terry Hass, the village's assistant zoning administrator.
But five remain without a home: Belle from Beauty and the Beast; Elsa from Frozen; a bear fishing from a canoe; a gingerbread girl with the name "Paula" on the back; and a purple and blue llama from the video game Fortnite.
Hass noted that some clearly have sentimental value.
"I think it's just nice that they don't get tossed away," said Hass, "and we can do something to get them back to their rightful owners."
To claim an ornament, call 878-6944.