It may be the last year for holiday light peepers to enjoy a Bloomington oak tree that's known nationally for the thousands of lights meticulously wrapped around every limb and branch.
Bob and Julie Little have lit up the 57-foot tree with nearly 40,000 lights since they moved into the Meadowview Road home in 2001, and every year it has brought them, their neighbors and hundreds of strangers from near and far, joy.
“I still don’t know why I did [first decorate the tree],” Bob Little told the Sun Current last year.
He says the tree has become "our Christmas card to the world," adding, "It really has become a beacon in the night."
"It's wonderful for the soul," Bob Little told the Star Tribune in 2009. He added that seeing people enjoy the lights is the best Christmas present they could get.
"It adds to the joy of the season and makes people happy," he told the newspaper. "And there's no question that I'm probably the happiest one of the bunch. It just tickles me."
But it may be the last year the Minnesota River Valley is illuminated by the tall oak tree. The Littles put their house on the market because Julie Little can no longer navigate the stairs, WCCO says. The future homeowner will likely inherit the lights, but the Littles can't require they be turned on.
“Hopefully, I can talk them into it, even if I have to come and be their assistant or apprentice for the first year or so to get the lights going,” Bob Little told WCCO. “I hope they do it.”
He told the news station there has been some interest in the home, but no solid offers yet.
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The tree, which even has its own Facebook page, will be lit for the first time Wednesday night. The Littles light the tree from 5-7 a.m. to greet morning commuters on Highway 77, and again from 5 p.m. to midnight until New Year's Day, the Sun Current says.