BROWNSVILLE — If putting up a Christmas tree is on your weekend to-do list, there’s a painless way to get the job done and support the Brownsville Public Library and historic Moyer House at the same time.
All it takes is opening up your checkbook.
You can bid on any or all 25 trees that have been decorated by businesses and civic groups in Brownsville during the annual Festival of Trees silent auction that runs Friday and Saturday. The event is sponsored by the Brownsville Women’s Study Club.
Wednesday morning, Mari Vanderstelt and Teresa Smith were busy putting finishing touches on two trees at Yankee Dutch Quilting at 140 Spaulding Ave. in downtown Brownsville.
Smith was working on “Nutty for Crackers,” sponsored by her brother-in-law’s company, Mid-Valley Builders. Vanderstelt was putting candy canes on her “Mooey Christmas,” which pays homage to farm life.
“I love nutcrackers,” Smith said of her work. “I tend to over-decorate Christmas trees.”
Smith said her secret to tree decoration is to start with the lights first — test them before stringing them up — and then add ribbons and ornaments.
“By installing the lights first, they don’t get covered up with the other decorations,” she said.
Smith’s tree is 6 feet tall and features lights, ribbon and, of course, numerous nutcrackers.
There are also numerous keys. Smith’s daughter, Ivy, said people can learn about why there are keys by watching the new movie, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”
Vanderstelt’s tree is 4 feet tall. It's adorned with windmills, pigs and cows, barns, milk cans and more items that remind her of the dairy farm on which her husband was reared.
Both trees will come with some extra holiday gifts.
Smith’s tree includes a quilted tree skirt and a gift basket. Vanderstelt’s tree includes a handmade lap quilt.
The women say they start buying ornaments and other decorative items for the trees immediately after Christmas.
“We get great discounts,” Smith said. “And we collect them all year long and we make some as well.”
Vanderstelt said several of her farm-themed ornaments came from Coastal Farm & Ranch.
Organizers suggest decorators spend at least $200 per tree, but Vanderstelt estimates actual costs are much higher.
Bidding on the trees will start at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday and closes at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Silent auction bids are made at each store or tree location.
Each tree also comes with a large plastic bag to safely encase it on its journey to its new home.
The Brownsville Women’s Study Club was founded in 1910 and started the Brownsville Public Library in 1911.