When to take down the decorations? Wisconsin man's tree still up after 40 years


When's a good time to take down your Christmas decorations?

Readers of the Duluth News Tribune say after New Year's Day or by Jan. 6, which marks Three Kings' Day and the end of the 12 days of Christmas.

But a man in Wausau, Wisconsin, has a different timetable for when to take down his Christmas tree.

Covered in antique ornaments, dusty tinsel and lights that date back 100 years, the skinny spruce still sits in the corner after four decades – surprisingly it still has its needles, albeit they're browning.

Neil Olson put up the tree in 1974 when two of his six sons went off to serve in the Vietnam War, USA Today reports. He planned to take it down when they were all home for Christmas.

That still hasn't happened. Five of his sons live in the area, but his eldest son, who was injured in the war, hasn't been able to make it back to Wisconsin for Christmas, reports say.

Olson, 89, told Daily Herald Media that "the needles are kept on for a reason. It's supernatural, I say."

Olson still keeps in touch with all his sons and hopes one day they'll all be together at Christmas again, adding, "I bet you if my sixth boy comes home, the needles will drop right off."

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He suspects the tree has probably set a world record for longest-standing, all-natural Christmas tree, but Guinness World Records hasn't commented and its website doesn't include such a record, Daily Herald Media reports.

Olson's story has spread across the world this holiday season, being featured in British newspapers, by The Associated Press and TIME Magazine, among others.

Wausau, Wisconsin, is about a 2-hour, 30-minute drive from Minneapolis.

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