Athens Habitat to Give a Fully Decorated Christmas Tree

A Habitat donor will be chosen to select the recipient of a 7.5′ tall tree loaded with lights and decorations.

Staff member placing star on top of Christmas tree
Athens Habitat’s Brad Taylor tops the tree with a star

What if you could give someone a fully decorated Christmas tree for their home or place of work this year? You would be awesome! Well, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Athens Area Habitat will be choosing a supporter who will be able to do just that!

“The idea came from a donor,” says Paul Farr of the Athens Area Habitat affiliate. “He had been collecting ornaments for years, but no longer put up a tree, so he decided to donate them to the ReStore. At first he thought maybe they could be sold as a set. But as we talked, he mentioned that his place of work in Atlanta used to give away a fully decorated tree every year, and we ended up putting the two ideas together.”

From November 1st to November 25th, anyone donating $25 or more to the Athens Area Habitat annual fund, or spending $25 or more at either of the Athens ReStores or the Athens Habitat online shop will be entered into the drawing, to take place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The winner gets to decide who gets the tree, and can choose anyone in Clarke, Oconee, or Oglethorpe Counties.

“I think a lot of us know of a family who won’t be able to afford a tree this year, as so many people are out of work,” says Farr. “We’d also like for people to consider giving the tree to a senior center, or an office of ‘frontline’ workers, or a similar workplace or living facility where lots of folks could enjoy it over the holidays. A lot of people are under great stress these days, so the idea is to spread some joy where it’s needed.”

Ceramic Santa ornament
Ceramic Santa ornament

The collection is eclectic and includes ornaments of blown glass, ceramics, hand carved wood, and even hand crafted paper. “There’s something for everyone,” says Farr. “Of course there are the traditional ornaments — glass globes, creches, angels, Santa Clauses. But there’s a lot of unique stuff as well. The donor is originally from Florida, so we’ve got a Mickey Mouse Santa, a fishing alligator, and a pink flamingo dressed as a tourist. There are lots of different animals, many of them naturalistic, but also decorations like a pig riding in an air balloon, a miniature sock monkey, and a trio of mariachi cats. There’s even a full-body Alfred E. Neuman from Mad Magazine wearing red-soled sneakers. It’s a really fun tree that adults and kids alike can enjoy. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you notice something different.”

The tree will be on display at Athens Habitat ReStore West at 4125 Atlanta Highway in Athens through Thanksgiving. But shoppers at the Barber Street ReStore will be eligible as well. The winner of the drawing will be contacted on Saturday, November 28th, and will have 24 hours to respond with their choice of recipient. The tree will be delivered by Habitat and will be fully sanitized before being presented.

Mariachi cat ornaments

“Unfortunately, sanitizing everything is just part of the procedure nowadays,” says Farr. “Before reopening the stores we equipped the truck with a sanitizing machine. It uses a solution that destroys a wide range of harmful microbes, including covid, but it’s 100% safe for people, pets, and wildlife. It’s used in hospitals and you can even wash organic produce in it without losing EPA Organic certification. We also have the machines in our stores, which are sprayed down every hour. Right now our #1 priority is covid safety, and that extends to this promotion as well.”

Will there be a contest next year?

“We don’t know,” says Farr. “It’s not every year that we get a donation like this with all these unusual ornaments in perfect condition. And hopefully in 2021 there won’t be quite as much need. But we’ll see. Everyone has enjoyed the promotion so far, so maybe it will become a tradition. I guess it depends on the kinds of donations we get in. But this year, at least, we’re going to bring a little extra joy to someone in our service area.”

You can support Athens Area Habitat for Humanity, and be automatically entered into the drawing to choose who gets the tree, by donating to the Athens Hab annual fund drive before Thanksgiving Day, 2020.