Meet Beth O’Shea, the general chair of Memorial’s 2019 Festival of Trees

What does Memorial’s Festival of Trees mean to you?

To me, the Festival is about families coming together to enjoy the beginning of the holiday season. All ages have something to look forward to at each Festival of Trees. Year after year families can count on returning traditions as well as new and exciting activities.

Do you have a favorite Festival of Trees memory?

In 2016, the theme was Remember When. I was involved with finding display items for the mid-century modern home that was on the stage in the center of the building. It brought back so many childhood memories for myself and others.

Why did you want to get involved with the Festival seven years ago?

Our family always enjoyed attending Festival of Trees when our children were younger. As they got older, I had more time to devote to volunteering in our community. Memorial Medical Center has so many wonderful volunteering opportunities, so I thought this would be a great way to use my time.

What do you enjoy the most about the Festival?

Festival of Trees brings families together. I have heard this event starts many family holiday traditions with train rides, cookie decorating, walking among the trees, visits with Santa, and the children craft area.

What does our theme, Jingle Bells & Seashells, mean to you?

I love our 2019 theme of Jingle Bells & Seashells. Our family loves the beach and have spent numerous winters vacationing in Florida to escape the Illinois winter. I thought it would be fun to bring the beach to Illinois.

Does your family have any special holiday traditions?

When our children were younger, we chose a different country each year to explore the holiday recipes. On Christmas Eve, we cooked several dishes that celebrated the holiday culture.

How long and in what roles have you been involved with the Festival?

Over the years I helped with the Gingerbread Village and Mini Trees.

What do you enjoy most about being involved with the Festival of Trees?

The evening of the Gala is such a lovely event. The beautifully decorated trees and wreaths, holiday attire, delicious food, and thematic music make a memorable evening for everyone who attends, including the Festival’s sponsors and designers.