You’ll likely hum O Christmas Tree at least once this holiday season – imagine doing that 105 times.
That’s the number of big, small and medium sized trees crammed into one Red Deer couple’s home in a bid to raise money for the local Humane Society.
Every year during the holiday season, Red Deer residents Vince Jackman and Tom Kereluk decorate more uniquely themed Christmas trees than you can keep track of.
“We have some that are plaid themed, some are Halloween-inspired, Asian themed, angels, Star Wars and Harry Potter,” Jackman said.
Jackman has always been passionate about Christmas, he said. As he got older, he wanted to give back. The fundraising effort started 13 years ago.
As part of the fundraising, the couple holds a party at their home at the end of November. He said his partner bakes elaborate cheesecakes and they invite friends and family over who donate money to the cause.
Jackman even has a tree for his little chihuahua, Sophie, who passed away last year.
As an homage to Sophie, he said this year’s fundraising effort was named after her.
“Her tree is filled with photos of her throughout her life of 11 years,” he said. “She was a princess for sure.”
On Dec. 9th, the couple is holding the last open house from 1 to 4 p.m. They are inviting residents to come over and see the trees. All they ask is for a donation to the Central Alberta Humane Society.
All the trees fit in their home at 42 Comfort Close.
“There are little and big trees,” he said. “A designer tree by Alfred Sung, a tree of designer labels and perfume and cologne bottles.
“You have all those cologne bottles and perfume bottles and you never know what to do with them besides throw them out, so we thought, let’s make a tree out of them. So that one is all blinged-out.”
There are trees for everyone. Jackman said they won their Harry Potter tree at an auction last year. There is a Gay Pride tree and a tree that belonged to Jackman’s grandmother.
Many of the themes were inspired by gifts he and Kereluk received over the years.
“We have one tree where our nieces and nephews have made ornaments for us every Christmas,” he said. “It’s a tree of what they have given us over the years.”
He said as a not-for-profit, the Central Alberta Humane Society does not receive any government funding. It relies solely on donations and fundraising. He encourages people gifting pets to get them from shelters.
“Animals get the short end of the stick when it comes to being disposed of, so it’s very dear to our heart so we all continue to do what we can and host these parties and make it bigger and better every year to raise money so that the animals that our shelter deals with will go to good homes and get the lives that they deserve.”
So far, Jackman has raised $4,000. He is hoping to make it to $5,000.
“Everyone is welcome,” he said. “Please come and enjoy and spread the Christmas cheer.”