November has arrived, Daylight Saving Time has ended and Halloween decorations are on clearance in stores....the Christmas holiday season must quickly be approaching.

What better way to get in the mood of the holidays than to attend and participate in the Houston County Festival of Trees in Spring Grove.

This year's theme is Rural Memories. To bring these memories to life, Giants of the Earth Heritage Center in Spring Grove will be recording memories of area residents.

As part of its mission, Giants has been working on capturing and preserving the vibrant oral histories that abound in area residents. The organization is now focusing on holiday memories and encourages people of all ages to share these memories so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Recording dates announced

Giants of the Earth have three planned recording sessions for these memories. The first one is Sunday, Nov. 11, in the Fellowship Hall at Trinity Lutheran Church.

The second session is Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Heritage Center (Ballard House) immediately following the free movie at the Spring Grove Cinema. Recording participants will get to enjoy complimentary pie samples from Doc's Blue Moose's new pie menu.

The date of the third recording session has yet to be determined, but it will be the same week as the other two and will be at the Spring Grove Assisted Living.

If someone is interested in recording their holiday memories, but is not able to make these scheduled times, they can contact Giants of the Earth Heritage Center to set up a personalized appointment to record their memories. Creating a recording is as simple as sitting in a comfortable chair and talking with family and friends about memories of past holidays.

Creating the Festival of Trees

The Houston County Festival of Trees begins Friday, Nov. 23, and continues until Sunday, Nov. 25, at the Spring Grove Fest Building.

There are only a few weeks between now and when they open their doors to show how the Fest Building has once again been magically transformed.

The Festival of Trees Committee spends endless hours working on decorating and creating unique scenes each year. They always welcome extra hands to make the work go more quickly.

They work at the Fest Building every evening and weekend days until the event.

"There are trees to be fluffed and lit, a house shell to be constructed, paper to be hung on the walls, lights to hang throughout the building, outer buildings to be created and the entry way and outside of the Fest Building need to be decorated," explained Jacqui VanMinsel, a Festival of Trees committee member.

"There's lots to be done! We invite anyone that is interested in helping for even an hour or two to stop by; all of this hard work is for a good cause - we are helping people in Houston County that are in need."

The plan for this year's theme is to recreate holidays from yesteryear - Grandma's house decorated for Christmas, a holiday barn dance and more.

To help recreate this theme, they are looking for Mason jars, canning racks, household items, antique-type agricultural items such as galvanized items, tools, including small implements, milk cans, shovels and rakes, etc.

The recorded holiday memories will also be incorporated into the design.

Anyone interested in helping can stop by the Fest Building or can contact VanMinsel at 498-3425; Betty Johnson at 498-5177; Peggy Landsom at 498-5581; or Bethany Moen at 498-5505.

Donations of auction items are also needed for the Gala Auction on Saturday, Nov. 24. The funds raised from that event go to the Houston County Food Shelf and Care & Share. Learn more online at