COLORADO SPRINGS — A Colorado Springs-based charity is on a mission to decorate the graves of thousands of veterans with Christmas wreaths.

According to Senior Veterans, Inc., only one in five Colorado veterans' graves were adorned with wreaths last year. This year, they're trying to change that.

"Our mission, along with thousands of Coloradans is to ensure that every veteran's grave in a Colorado cemetery will receive a wreath this December," said Senior Veterans CEO David Bolser in a release.

The wreaths, which cost $15 and are all donated by the public, are handcrafted from Balsam fir and are finished with a hand-tied red velvet bow. After volunteers make the long trek from Maine, where the wreaths are made, they'll be placed at grave sites in Denver, Fort Collins, Greeley, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and many smaller cemeteries throughout Colorado. The laying of the wreaths will take place on Dec. 15. Over 160,000 veterans are buried in Colorado cemeteries.

Nationwide, more than 1,400 cemeteries participate in "National Wreaths Across America Day."

The tradition of placing wreaths on veterans' graves began 26 years ago when a wreath maker in Maine ended up with a surplus of wreaths at the end of the holiday season. Instead of throwing them away, the wreaths were sent to Arlington National Cemetery and placed on gravestones there. This continued for 13 years, and when a photo of the decorated gravestones went viral in 2005, the tradition spread across the nation.

Wreaths can be donated at www.coloradohonor.com. Donations must be received by Monday, Dec. 3.