YORK, SC (WBTV) - At one point, it sounded as if the old cedar tree at the corner of Liberty and Congress Streets in York, SC, would need a Christmas miracle to stay standing.
No one knows exactly how old the tree is, but best guesses put it at more than 80 years old. Needless to say, it's old enough to have developed a following.
"I know I remember it from when I was a little girl," said Denise Hayes, who is in her 60s.
Recently, county officials had said the tree was leaning and dying, and could possibly be a danger to the newly renovated York County Courthouse it stands next to.
Officials decided it was time for the ancient tree to go. Townspeople decided it wasn't.
"There was an immediate and very loud outcry that 'No, you can't do this'," said Gary Gross with the Yorkville Historical Society.
See, for all those years that anybody can remember, the tree wasn't just standing there as an 80-foot-tall hunk of wood. Every year, it donned the lights that helped beckon Christmas to York. The lights were just as much a part of the holiday as family and presents.
The idea of chopping down a beloved beacon of Christmas wasn't welcomed.
"After the outcry, we did get some folks in to look at the tree and found out it wasn't dead or dying," Gross said.
Turns out, all the old tree needed was a good haircut.
Gross said the Yorkville Historical Society donated thousands of brand new lights to deck the newly-trimmed tree. Since Saturday, the York Fire Department has been using a ladder truck to string the lights to the top.
"Christmas is saved," said Gross. "The Grinch has failed once again."