Friday, December 09, 2016

Great Christmas Tree Tour 2016: Tina Radcliffe

O Christmas Tree!

This is what is flowering in my yard this time of year. Tangerines, and oranges and grapefruit trees. It wasn’t until I moved to the Valley of the Sun that I became curious about the origin of the Christmas tree. After all, there few fir trees in Phoenix, and you will not see them in Arizona until to drive north to the mountains.

Christianity Today provides a clear history of the modern Christmas tree with their article, “Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?” 

This quote struck a chord with me: “As many of us make trees and gifts the center of our own Christmas practice, we would do well to remember that they are ultimately symbols of the One who gave himself to unite heaven and earth, and who brings all barren things to flower.”

My investigation of the Christmas tree took me to the Holy Land. What trees would be in Bethlehem when Jesus was born? Check out these trees from the Holy Land.  Much to my delight, I discovered that the palm tree and the cactus would be center stage. So perhaps my new home in the Arizona desert truly does reflect the heart of the true Christmas tree. 
I’m sharing photos of how we desert folks decorate our “trees” for the holidays!

Workers begin decorating palm trees in October! Here’s a video of the lights in Glendale, Arizona where I live. Glendale Glitters. And below is the finished product!

Out and about in the neighborhood, the saguaro cactus gets decorated too.
I made another discovery this year. An hour south of me is Chandler, Arizona, home of the world’s largest Tumbleweed Christmas Tree! Do check out the video.

No matter how you decorate your tree, it is true that He is the one we celebrate as we bring forth the holiday traditions.

About Tina Radcliffe
Originally from Western, N.Y., Tina Radcliffe left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency (a branch of the NSA) stationed in Augsburg, Germany and ended up in Tulsa Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. Tina is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist, a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist, a 2014 Golden Quill finalist and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. Tina is also a short story writer and has sold over twenty short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. She currently resides in Arizona where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.

You can find Tina at

About Rocky Mountain Cowboy
Tina's newest book releases on December 20, 2016. Pick up a copy and check out rancher Joe Gallagher and his challenges!

A Cowboy's Second Chance 
The last person cowboy Joe Gallagher thought he'd see on his ranch was high school sweetheart Rebecca Anshaw Simpson. Twelve years after she married another man, she's back as his physical therapist. But healing his body is nothing compared to guarding his heart from the woman he never forgot.

There's much the single mom would rather forget, but Becca won't let regret and a surly rancher get in the way of her job and the chance to start over with her little girl. She has only a few weeks to make peace with her past. But Becca never expected she'd fall all over again for her first love.



  1. Good Morning, Tina!

    I think any tree is lovely covered in lights. And those Santa hatted cacti are really cute too. Okay, there aren't many Christmas decorations I don't like. You are so lucky with the orange, tangerine and grapefruit trees. YUM! Bet everyone gets oranges in their stockings at your house. :)

  2. Lol. I hadn't thought about the whole fruit in the stocking thing, Rose. We did chocolate when I was growing up. But it's a tradition to start!

  3. love the fruit trees! I'll take a stocking full of grapefruit. Lol

    It is so important to stay focused on why we celebrate Christmas. Thanks for reminding us.

  4. Hey, Terri. About mid January we are begging people to take fruit off our hands. Wish it wasn't so heavy to mail. Last year we decided to go ahead and pull the last of the grapefruit off the tree,thinking, maybe a dozen. I pulled 100 more off the tree. Giant grapefruit too. Sheesh. It's like overkill here.

  5. Hi Tina, I think it was your agent's agency that was having a whole discussion on FB and twitter about the custom of oranges in stockings. We always found an orange in the toe of our stockings and it's a tradition I continue.

    Thanks for a glimpse of Christmas in the desert!

  6. We sort of put oranges in our stockings as a tradition. Those chocolate ones that are covered with orange foil. Thanks for stopping by Cate.

  7. What an interesting post, Tina! Loved this! We, too, do fruit in the stockings, and lots of chocolate. I'm going to have to try that chocolate orange thing - because I like being efficient like that.

  8. LOL. It's called Terry's. Comes in dark, milk and other flavors.