LONG BEACH, Calif. - Traditions this holiday season seem more important than ever. They bring us a sense of normalcy, a sense of warmth, and a sense of family. For one mother battling a serious illness, it’s more meaningful than ever and she's made it her mission to honor a Long Beach tradition.
Suzi Beck has been hand-making small ornaments and larger, lighted centerpieces for more than a decade. They’re replicas of Long Beach’s iconic "Trees in the Bay."
The 16-foot-tall wooden, floating trees adorned with strings of festive lights have been a local tradition sing 1949. Beck’s miniature versions have become so popular with customers, she’s now affectionately called "The Tree Lady."
"I want them to smile, I want the people they give it to smile and think of their memories go back and whatever memories you have of Long Beach and Christmas," she said.
Sadly, a serious health issue threatened to put a halt to her holiday ritual. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor last May. Since then, she has had surgery and is now undergoing chemotherapy.
Her daughters Emmy and Sara have now manned the tree production line, motivated by their mother’s courage and inspired by her sense of purpose. Some of the proceeds go to the American Brain Tumor Association and Partners in the Parks, the Long Beach non-profit which maintains the real Trees in the Bay.
The ornaments and centerpieces bring back memories of the past for so many.
"One guy bought one for his wife on their anniversary because he proposed so there as a touchpoint," Beck said.
Now, the family is making their own memories, believing in miracles, and embracing the Christmas magic that everyone could use right now.
"We are spending so much time together and as a mother, I’m so blessed. I get overwhelmed. It’s wonderful," she said.
All three ladies work full-time so they do not ship, but if you place an order, you can safely pick them up In Long Beach.