Christmas arrives at Habitat for Humanity

By SARALYN NORKUS Staff Writer
Posted 9/20/17

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland.

The ReStore held its annual Tree Trimming Party on Tuesday, which featured the aptly dubbed “Christmas …

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Christmas arrives at Habitat for Humanity

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland.

The ReStore held its annual Tree Trimming Party on Tuesday, which featured the aptly dubbed “Christmas Lady” Deborah Flower and her team of volunteers decking out a multitude of trees for the upcoming holiday season.

“We have done this since 2010, and I have some ladies who have been with me since then. They come out every year and this is a big to-do,” Flower said.

“We make a forest of trees and the ladies come in to decorate. All the decorations I have saved for a whole year – I categorize them, clean them up, decide what they need to do and sort them.”

A total of 56 artificial Christmas trees were set up and wrapped in lights on Saturday by volunteers from Lee University, and on Tuesday the crew was quick to get to work.

“They work very hard and have different themed trees,” Flower commented.

“These ladies are very creative and very good.”

One of Tuesday’s decorating squad members was Meredith Szustak.

“I think this is my third or fourth year,” Szustak said.

“(It’s fun) to get with all the people and puts you in the Christmas mood early.”

“Phenomenal” was the term ReStore manager Michelle Haas used to describe the tree decorators.

The Christmas trees will be available for purchase beginning on Thursday and according to Haas, tend to go fast.

“Typically sales pick up in October, and then November is big for us and people just swarm in. If you’re looking for a tree, you’ve got to get here before November,” Haas said.

According to both Haas and Flower, the profits from all holiday decorations sold over three months are enough to pay for almost two-thirds of a Habitat home.

“The proceeds from the holiday sales from August through November, pay out about $20,000 just in those months, which is about two-thirds of a house,” Flower detailed.

“We’ve done this for a long time and it just gets better and better.”

The trees range in size, shape, color and height, with the tallest on display being around 9 feet. Prices for the trees include the decorations, and range from $5 to $100. Flower added that some trees are left undecorated so families can take them home and use their own holiday ornaments.

saralyn.norkus@clevelandbanner.com

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