Jenny Harding, TSM

Hundreds packed onto the lawn of the First Presbyterian Church at Mulberry and College in Fort Collins Tuesday night for the Realities For Children annual NightLights tree-lighting ceremony. The 50’ tall NightLights Tree is adorned with 30,000 lights that are synchronized to music. It's still the best tree-lighting ceremony in Fort Collins and the way my family kicks off the holidays every year.

The crowd stayed warm with hot soup and quesadillas from Qdoba and hot cider and cocoa from The Salvation Army. Everyone enjoyed live musical performances from Cheri Lamperes, The Whiskey Chickens, and The Centennial Children's Chorus! One kid walked away with a 33 pound chocolate Santa from Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory.

After the Tree-Lighting Ceremony on December 1st, the NightLights tree stays lit through the end of the year.. Blue is the internationally recognized color of child abuse prevention and awareness, and the “big blue tree” on the corner of College and Mulberry is the symbol of hope, and of the light we can all bring to children in need this Christmas and throughout the year.

Watch the NightLights tree being lit in this short YouTube video: