By Dasha Morgan
Deck the Trees is an annual Christmas event sponsored by the vintage Monte Vista Hotel in Black Mountain. The theme changes from year to year. This year’s theme is There are Angels Among Us, and a prize is given for the tree that most adheres to the theme, as well as the one that generates the most money. Last year’s theme was 80 Years of Christmas, as 2017 was the Monte Vista’s hotel’s 80th anniversary. This year 27 Christmas trees will be decorated, mostly by individuals who has a one-person establishment. Kilwins is a favorite tree for children, and Stephanie Wilder, owner of Chifforobe Home and Garden at 132 Cherry Street, is the only participant who has been there every year. The trees are on view daily from 10 AM to 9 PM or as long as Milton’s, the restaurant which specializes in South comfort food at the Monte Vista, is open.
People vote for their favorite tree by putting money into a box at the tree. One vote is $1. All of the money raised from this event is given to Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry for their Fuel Fund. The Ministry is a team of committed Christian churches, staff, and volunteers who work together with the community in response to God’s call to provide vital services for our neighbors in need, both local residents and stranded travelers. Over the years this events has been able to increase the amount of money give to the SVCM. In 2012, they donated $2,133; in 2017, it was $25,055.19!
The increase in funds seems to have been derived from adding sponsors, which was done in 2016. The Monte Vista Hotel absorbs all of the expenses for Deck the Trees so that every dollar that is donated by people who vote for their favorite tree goes to the Fuel Fund of the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministries for those in need.
Other sponsors are local businesses and individuals who have donated money for the event. This year’s sponsors are:
Platinum Sponsors: Dr. Mark Kleive, DDS and Givens Highland Farm
Gold Sponsors: Anonymous Donor, Cheryl Keefer Fine Art
Silver Sponsors: Edward Jones, Scott Roy, Krista Anne’s, Premier Sales and Marketing, Southeastern Sports Therapy, and Tyson Furniture Company.
As Libba Fairleigh, an organizer for the event, said, “I think that everyone who creates a tree feels like a winner. The people who give money for their favorite tree feel like winners; SVCM feels good about being able to help people with fuel needs.” It feels sort of like a Norman Rockwell Christmas when you see all the trees and know that each tree has been made out of a sense of love. So, the town is the winner, each tree creator is a winner and all who view them win. It is a way we can help.”
Do come by the Monte Vista Hotel at 308 West State Street in Black Mountain to vote on your favorite tree. Each decorated tree helps keep some family from having a cold winter. The community is truly the winner. And seeing so many decorated trees will undoubtedly put you in the spirit of the Christmas season.