I have always been a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas trees. I like different combinations of red, green, silver and gold on my own trees, but this year my eyes were opened to a whole new world of tree decorating.
While we were on vacation in Florida last month, we happened to walk by the Sidney & Berne David Art Center in the historic Fort Myers River District.
It turned out that the art center was hosting a Festival of Trees, so we decided to wander in and see what it was all about.
It turns out that what we walked into was The Sixth Annual Festival of Trees! The festival was open from November 23rd-30th, and ended with the Tux & Trees Gala on December 1st, with a live and silent auction for all the trees.
Every tree that we came across was as creative as the last. There were trees in every color imaginable, with great themes too.
Seeing as this was my first time being in Florida close to the holiday season, I have to admit that I really loved this “We Wish You a Gulf Coast Christmas” tree, full of treasures from the ocean. This one won for Best Overall.
This starfish and shell garland would be a great holiday project to DIY, if you live near the ocean!
With Garrett’s sweet tooth, he loved this ice cream inspired tree. I’d never seen a Christmas tree upside down until now! I loved how they used burlap ribbon to create the “cone”, and pink tulle for the “ice cream”. This tree came complete with an ice cream maker, bowls, spoons, scoops and all the fixin’s for your own ice cream social! This tree won for Most Creative.
Home Depot’s display included a tree decorated with Martha Stewart ornaments, power tools, a tool box, and even a trio of jumping dolphins in santa hats with gifts.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been working on my own miniature village, and I can appreciate all the hard work that went into making this “Christmas in Miniature” tree by Mini De-Lights Miniature Club.
The tree was made up of handcrafted miniatures, with a glittery village nestled in below the tree.
It even came with an accompanying wreath full of cute miniature Christmas displays.
Off to the side, there was a large TV playing one of my all-time favourite movies – It’s A Wonderful Life. There were several rows of chairs to allow visitors to enjoy some of the film.
As you walked around the room, you could see all the hard work and creativity that went into making these displays.
The Rotary Club of North Fort Myers created the largest display with this “Rockin’ with Elvis and the 50’s” theme. Complete with tickets to the Uptown Express, music and books from the 50s, and a life-sized Elvis.
But for me the tree that had the most nostalgia was this one. “Visions of Christmas Past” by the River District Alliance looked just like how my parents’ like their tree (my Dad loves his vintage tinsel!), and it is no wonder that this won for Most Traditional.
I’ve never made a cranberry or popcorn wreath, but after seeing it here, I’d really like to try it some year.
They even had a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree and plush toy sitting above the faux fireplace they setup at this display.
Speaking of Charlie Brown, he and the gang took the show with their “Good Grief it’s a Peanut Christmas” display.
In among the tree, there were stuffed toys and ornaments of Charles Schultz’s iconic characters
My sock-monkey-lovin’ cousin would have got a kick out of the “A Very Monkey Christmas” tree.
Hidden in among all the sock monkeys were singing monkeys and even a monkey jack-in-the-box.
Mark Loren Designs created this “Wild Side” Christmas tree, using designer ornaments and ribbons.
At the end of the displays, there was a “luxury” tree, full of more than $1500 in gift certificates to local spas, for a lucky raffle winner.
I just wanted to take home one of the cute doll-sized robes. I know a couple of little girls who would love these for their Barbies!