Two Tree Lightings Return (In Person) Plus a Retirement

Tree lighting celebrations returned to the Park Cities in their more familiar forms in 2021 and gifted us with welcomed reminders and lessons:

Park Cities people love Christmastime.

Celebrating in person is so much more fun than doing so virtually.

Your children are great singers, dancers, and artists (see the coloring book winners below).

Dressing lamas in reindeer antlers, earmuffs, string lights, and candy cane garlands makes for an irresistible Snider Plaza Tree Lighting photobooth.

Though age and disease may have taken away Highland Park’s historic monarch pecan, a community tradition lives on and well around the genetically related Landmark tree it shifted to in 2019.

Putting on holiday festivals takes plenty of work, and eventually, the time comes to pass the baton.

Rotary Club of Park Cities member Jerry Washam helped organize the Snider Plaza lighting celebration for 15 years. His wife, Mary, has contributed decorations, banners, etc.

The 2017 city of University Park Citizen of the Year is affectionately known as “the mayor of Snider Plaza,” partly because as president of Ralph Porter Company, he oversaw leasing for a substantial portion of the shopping center his grandfather began developing in 1927.

With his retirement, 2021 was his last to lead the Rotary’s University Park tree lighting committee.

Tania Noelle Boughton, Washam’s co-chair of seven years, will lead it.

Boughton called the Washam’s wonderful human beings who have lived out that Rotary mission of “service above self.”

“We raise money for the food bank and the Salvation Army,” Boughton said. “It’s really important to them.”

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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