As soon as the community Christmas tree goes up on the courthouse square, it appears — a big yellow bow placed on the side of the tree facing Barnard Street.

“It always appears right after we put up the tree,” said Karen Davenport, who has been decorating the Christmas tree and the square for the past 10 years. “This one (bow) is bigger this year.

“I’m sure it’s somebody who has someone in the military,” Davenport added. “I love it on there.”

Davenport and landscape designer and downtown activist Karen Richardson spent part of their Monday afternoon perched on tall ladders hanging big Christmas balls and pinecones on the tree. Davenport’s husband, Stacey, usually helps, too, but he was home sick this year.

City workers erected the artificial tree on the square last week. County workers Monday morning used a crane to hang the big wreath on the Somervell County Courthouse.

Smaller wreaths and Christmas banners adorn lampposts around the square. They all make for a cheery downtown holiday scene.

But when Davenport first came to Glen Rose, there were hardly any decorations downtown, she recalled.

“I was walking on the sidewalk one day and ran into (County) Judge Walter Maynard,” she said. “I asked him how come we don’t have any more decorations.”

“You could start doing that,” Maynard told her. And so she did.

The first Christmas decoration was the big wreath. Then came the tree.

“We held bake auctions, the county donated and we had individual donations” to help pay for the decorations, Davenport said. “The tree and the wreath belong to the citizens.”

Local individuals and businesses helped find and buy decorations, too. Richardson, for instance, procured the giant pinecones. Kimberly Cecil of Earthly Possessions bought the snowflake ornaments.

On Monday Richardson cut some tree branches and Kim’s father, Tim, who owns several buildings around the square, had his workers paint them white. Now the branches are part of the tree’s decorations.

A donation box is in the county's Paluxy Heritage Park for anyone who would like to contribute to the decoration fund. Or you can call Davenport at 897-3777 or Richardson at 897-1970.

“Everyone chips in,” Davenport said. “You never know who’s going to show up to help out.”

Or who’s going to tie a big yellow bow on the tree in a sign of hope that next year a loved one far away will be home for the holidays.