The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 12, 2012

Festival of Trees in full swing; angels remain available to honor or memorialize someone

By Erica Benjamin for the SNAP

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 — The halls of Stanly County Commons are decked with twinkling lights and festive ornaments, signifying the arrival of Hospice’s annual Festival of Trees event.

Hospice’s Christmas tradition began more than a decade ago with the first Festival of Trees conducted Dec. 5-13, 1998 in the former Albemarle Mall Plaza. The purpose of the festival, which continues today, was to raise money to benefit Hospice patients and their families.

The festival remains a community event, with businesses, churches and individuals all coming together to sponsor a Christmas tree.

This year, more than 35 Christmas trees line the halls of Stanly County Commons, each with its own unique theme. Decorations range from the traditional, including bows, ribbons, garlands and glass balls, to the more unusual items such as cooking utensils, origami and newspaper.

Hospice volunteer Karen Swisher of Albemarle enjoys seeing how creative the citizens of Stanly County can be when it comes to decorating the trees.

“A lot of thought has always gone into decorating the trees,” Swisher said.

“Children from the different organizations have also participated and made ornaments.”

Feedback from visitors who come to view the trees, Swisher said, has been positive.

“A lot of people will make the comment that a certain tree is their favorite,” Swisher said.

“They always have a positive comment.”

Swisher also noted that the support of the community, from the sponsors of the trees to individuals who have stopped by the Hospice Christmas Shoppe, has been wonderful.

“We’ve had such great participation. We appreciate everyone who has supported us,” Swisher said.

“It’s just a wonderful thing.”

In addition to the Christmas trees, 12 angel trees are also set up in the lobby.

For $10, individuals may purchase a handcrafted angel in memory or in honor of a loved one. Angels are still available at the Hospice office or online at www.hospiceofstanly. org.