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A Christmas gift in July

Myra Kohls of the May Creek Senior Center in Walker presents presents a hand-crocheted tree skirt that will accompany the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree this winter. The tree will come from the Chippewa National Forest

CASS LAKE - Residents from the May Creek Senior Center recently visited the Norway Beach Recreation Area to deliver an early Christmas gift. Myra Kohls presented a hand-crocheted tree skirt to Forest Service employee Mary Nordeen. Kohls' handiwork will find its way to Washington D.C. in December, accompanying the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

In March, Nordeen presented a program to May Creek residents about the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and talked about ways the community can get involved with this national event. Minnesotans will make 10,000 tree ornaments for the 70- foot plus Capitol Christmas tree, and the Forest Service was looking for individuals to make 12 tree skirts.

The big tree will grace the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol building, but the Forest will send 70 smaller trees with the help of the Minnesota Tree Farmers Association to decorate the inside of the Capitol. Some of those indoor trees will be placed inside offices of Minnesota legislators ... and those special trees will be decorated with ornaments and tree skirts.

Kohls said it's exciting to have her art work shown in Washington D.C.

"It's one of the biggest achievements in my life" said the 93-year old, "I put a lot of hours into making this and I told my son my work was going to D.C. He couldn't believe it." Another group of crafters from May Creek will make a second tree skirt.

"People were so quick to come forward and help with the Tree Skirt project for the Capitol Christmas Tree," Nordeen said. "Each piece will be unique, and crafted by people with strong ties to northern Minnesota. Everyone is so proud to be a part of Capitol Tree, and we truly appreciate the time and love put into each item."

People have started sending in some of the 10,000 ornaments for the big tree, and there is still an opportunity to enter the State Fair ornament contest (www.MNStateFair.org) and the Art contest (www.Cafe.org). For more information on the 2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree, go to the Chippewa National Forest website at www.fs.usda.fed/chippewa or call 218-335-8600.