Although Christmas is supposed to be a happy time of year, it's very hard for those who have recently lost a loved one.

The Memory Tree was officially opened today. Started by Palliative Manitoba and in its 30th year, the Memory Tree is a place for people to come and grieve the loss of a loved one. Cards are provided free of cost and you are encouraged to write something to your loved on and place it on the tree.

"It can be really hard to get through the holidays when you are grieving somebody in your life," said Jennifer Gurke, Executive Director of Palliative Manitoba. "It's OK to have a difficult time during the holidays.

"We want to acknowledge those individuals that are having a difficult time."

The tree itself is brand new, sitting 18 feet tall in front of The Hudson's Bay inside St. Vital Centre. Palliative Manitoba has around 150 volunteers that make this project possible. Those volunteers sit at the table and offer a listening ear and a kind smile for those who need one.

Last year, the Memory Tree saw 1997 visitors who placed 1704 cards on the tree. 354 were children's cards, which are available again this year.

The tree will be open during mall hours until December 24.