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Christmas tree lit in Lawrenceville for 24th year

Staff Photo: John Bohn A Christmas tree lighting event is held at Lawrenceville's historic courthouse on Thanksgiving evening. Santa Claus made a visit while being transported by the Lawrenceville Fire Department.

Staff Photo: John Bohn A Christmas tree lighting event is held at Lawrenceville's historic courthouse on Thanksgiving evening. Santa Claus made a visit while being transported by the Lawrenceville Fire Department.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Santa Claus greets Alexandra Morton, 5 during a Christmas tree lighting event held at Lawrenceville's historic courthouse on Thanksgiving evening.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Santa Claus waves to crowds gathered at a Christmas Tree lighting event held at Lawrenceville's historic courthouse on Thanksgiving evening.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn The Couthern Belles dance to Christmas music during a Christmas tree lighting event held at Lawrenceville's historic courthouse on Thanksgiving evening. Santa Claus made a visit while being transported by the Lawrenceville Fire Department.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn A Christmas tree lighting event is held at Lawrenceville's historic courthouse on Thanksgiving evening. Santa Claus made a visit while being transported by the Lawrenceville Fire Department.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Forget the tryptophan nap.

After stuffing themselves with turkey, family and football on Thursday, the people of Lawrenceville still had one very important thing to do. For the 24th straight year, a towering Christmas tree was lit on the grounds of the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, simultaneously ending Thanksgiving and officially kicking off the Christmas season.

"It's a beautiful thing when the band plays 'O Holy Night' and the lights come on on that tree," Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson said.

Bands played Christmas songs and oldies as folks wearing Santa hats and other holiday attire danced and sang. Mr. Claus made an appearance too, but the main attraction was the tree.

"We stumbled upon it last year and had so much fun we came back this year," said Ricki Tobin, who actually made the trip over from Snellville. "It's very family friendly, festive, and gets you ready for Christmas. And if you go over there, you've got little girls getting their hair done up like Whoville. It's the cutest thing."

The 35-foot Norway spruce will be on display throughout the month of December.

"We hope the lighting of this tree begins a season of hope and peace for everyone," Johnson said, "and really puts everyone in a holiday spirit."