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A tree for all seasons

South Boston News
Doug and Vickie Boyles won’t take down this tree next week. Their Travel Tree, festooned with ornaments from their vacations, stays up year ‘round. / December 26, 2012
If your beloved Christmas tree looks so lovely and its decorations mean so much to you, why don’t you just leave it up all year?

That’s what Vickie and Doug Boyles do.

They call it their Travel Tree, and the skinny artificial evergreen with multicolored lights nestles 12 months a year in a nook near the kitchen refrigerator, its branches draped with ornaments and keepsakes from their travels: from Key West, Virginia Beach, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, the Virgin Islands. There are swimtrunk-wearing Santas, strands of Mardi Gras beads and a globe from “Mayberry” bearing Sheriff Andy Taylor’s squad car. Mickey and Minnie Mouse stand atop an orb from Disney World.

“When we go on a cruise, the first thing we do when we stop at an island is look for a Christmas tree ornament,” says Mrs. Boyles, who works at Wyatt Chevrolet. Her husband has spent his career at True Value Hardware.

The Boyleses, who live in Halifax’s Oak Hill neighborhood, love to vacation – they plan trips about a year and a half in advance, and they’re partial to tropical, sunny climes (Boyles’ favorite: St. Martin, with “beach like velvet”) so the tree is both a daily reminder of their good times as well as a promise of journeys to come.

It started some years ago when Mrs. Boyles couldn’t bring herself to box up, in January, some special ornaments. Over the years, the Travel Tree collected more and more mementos so that now its branches are nearly full.

“We just find another little empty spot,” she says.

Now, at this season of the year, the travel tree is not to be confused with the couple’s other two Christmas trees: one in the foyer and one in the living room, each of which bears beautiful, cherished ornaments, some of inestimable sentimental value. But there’s still no cross-over, no mingling whatsoever with the Travel Tree – a strict segregation is observed.

This year, though, allows Mrs. Boyles, she will make one exception: her brand-new, highly sought-after Ziggy’s restaurant commemorative ornament, which sold like crazy for the Halifax County Historical Society.

Ziggy’s alone will be promoted to the year-round tree.

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