Northside moves tree lighting ceremony to Cherokee hospital.
Although the annual Tree of Lights celebration has been moved from Northside Forsyth to Northside Cherokee, the Cumming hospital will still have a tree on top. - photo by Jim Dean

 A Forsyth County Christmas tradition is moving across county lines.

Northside Hospital-Forsyth’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony has been moved to the hospital’s Cherokee County location  

"It's all moved to Cherokee this year.  It will be the same thing Forsyth always did, just celebrating at their new hospital this year," said Lynn Jackson, Northside-Forsyth administrator. "It's sad, but we know it's a good thing for them.  We had it at the Forsyth campus for 15 years, longer than any other Northside location." 

The event brought thousands to the hospital each year and featured performances from local schools and groups, photos with Santa, lots of activities and the lighting of a 66-foot Christmas featuring 60,000 lights. There will still be a tree on the Forsyth campus, but no celebration event when it's lit.  

"It's come a long way since we started with that little tent out front back in 2002, and last year was about perfect,"   Jackson said.

Jackson said the program at Northside-Cherokee, which opened earlier this year, would be similar to the one held locally.

"It will be basically the same thing as we've always done, just at the Cherokee location.  If people really want to continue a family tradition or to go, they're certainly welcome over there," she said.  "They just opened in May, so it'll be a nice event to have their first holiday there."  

The new hospital is a little over 20 miles, about a 45-minute drive without heavy traffic, from Northside-Forsyth.

"We're disappointed, but happy for Cherokee, We do have to share the love with them,"  Jackson said.  

The tree lighting isn’t the only Christmas celebration the area has lost in recent years.

In 2015, a Christmas parade held on Market Place Boulevard was discontinued after nine years, with organizers from the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce saying the event had “run its course.”