The entry hall and corridors of Waxahachie Bible Church were filled with many designer-decorated Christmas trees along with even more wreaths and Christmas-themed decorations during this past weekend’s benefit.
“Waxahachie Bible Church has welcomed us here and taken care of us for the seven years we have held this festival,” said Suzy Keane of Ellis County Habitat for Humanity, for whom the event was held.
The annual festival displays holiday trees designed and created by local businesses and individuals and set up in a silent auction for public bid. In addition to the trees, community members can bid on seasonal décor such as wreaths, Christmas-themed craft items and home decorations.
“We have trees that lots and lots of people have made and donated who want to help out with the cause,” Keane said during the Friday evening opening. “Most of the trees here tonight are donated by individuals. There are more trees than we’ve ever had before. Counting any trees, we have about 35 trees.
“All of the things you see here, you will never see them anywhere else; they are all hand-made,” she said. “Everything here is an original. All of the items on display and for sale are made by the donors.
“There are no store-bought things that are brought up here,” Keane said, noting that several of items were found at thrift stores and repurposed into decorations.
As an example, one of the Christmas craft decorations was a wall hanging spelling “Noel” that incorporated casserole lids obtained from a thrift store.
In addition to the Christmas-themed items, the event’s silent auction included donated decorations, toys and other goods such as gift certificates, with many of the items on display having a buy-it-now price.
The Festival of Trees serves as the main fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County.
“A large portion of this year’s monies will go to buy the things needed to build the next house,” Keane said, noting that the home will be for a mother and son.
“These homes are built by mostly volunteers,” Keane said. “[Volunteers] have to be at least 18 but we welcome all volunteers. My husband, who is a teacher, volunteers. We do use some professionals where licensing and permitting are involved.”
There is also a program within Habitat for Humanity called Brush for Kindness. This program is for when people need a ramp built or a front door replaced, as examples.
“It just depends on what their needs are,” Keane said. “Funds raised also support this project.”