Neil Olson is 89 years old. His real spruce Christmas tree is almost half that age.
Olson, a resident of Wausau, Wisconsin, has had his tree up since 1974 all because of a promise he made: He's not taking it down until all six of his boys return for Christmas. For the last 40 years that hasn't happened.
"The needles are kept on for a reason. It's supernatural, I say," Olson told the Wausau Daily Herald.
The tree has come close to coming down -- there have been Christmases where five of the six boys have gathered. But the sixth, who is severely disabled as a result of the Vietnam war, lives in Washington state and it's hard for him to travel.
"I bet you if my sixth boy comes home, the needles will drop right off," Olson said.
He explained the lights on the tree are close to 100 years old, and he's afraid to turn them on again for fear that that the now-brown tree covered in dust would go up in flames. In fact, he hasn't turned them on since he first put it up.
"It'd just blow up on me. All that dust on there. It'd be like an atomic bomb," he said.
Still, he's holding out hope that the entire family will be reunited. And until that happens, the tree will remain.
"It's part of the furniture," his son, Rich, said. "It's like family now. I hate to take it down."