SAN ANGELO, Texas — Although the holiday season is full of love and joy, some people face this time of year with a hole in their hearts, yearning to spend Christmas with a loved one who has passed away.

Located at coordinates 31.39033°N, 100.53102°W, hikers, bicyclists and runners can find a single scraggly cedar bush in the west Texas terrain, glittering with ornaments and a red ribbon.

Bill Cullins, a resident of San Angelo, began decorating a bush that can be found on a trail at the base of what he calls Spillway Hill in the Twin Buttes area with Christmas decorations in 2017 after his wife passed away. This area can be found just beyond the yellow gates at Middle Concho Park.

  • A picture of Maria-Pia that is in the cedar bush decorated to honor and remember lost loved ones during the Christmas season.
  • The decorated cedar bush with a picture of Maria-Pia, a red ribbon wrapping around the tree and multiple ornaments that are red, silver and white. The blue sky shines through the branches of the bush.

Cullins shared with Concho Valley Homepage staff that after almost 45 years of marriage and 24 years of his wife Maria-Pai fighting lymphoma cancer, he decided to remove the Christmas decorations from his house and remember his late wife by decorating a cedar bush on a trail he began to cut out in 2001. This tree can be spotted on one of the trails known by those that have competed in the Trail Series in San Angelo.

“She loved Christmas decorations,” Cullins explained.

Cullins continued by sharing that he chose this cedar bush specifically because of a rock formation that sits just across the path. He and his family have fond memories of posing for pictures on the rock formation and catching the view of the Twin Buttes that sit just past the bush.

“I thought, ‘You know, this is a spot on the trail that she liked’,” Cullins said. “We would hike out there quite a bit and when the kids or grandkids came home that was kind of a photo op spot, so I thought ‘I’ll just decorate that tree’.”

A view from behind the cedar bush, looking towards the Twin Buttes. Multiple silver and white ornaments hang on the bush with a red ribbon wrapping around it.

Multiple people have come out to help Cullin decorate this tree in honor of his late wife and others have joined him to remember loved ones that they have lost as well.

“It is the thought and the memory that counts so I keep doing it every year and plan to keep doing it as long as I can,” said Cullins.

Cullins encourages anyone that wants to honor a lost loved one this holiday season to bring an ornament or Christmas decorations to hang alongside the others. He plans on keeping the decorations on the tree until mid-January.