If you put a festive tree in the bathroom, you may love Christmas more than anyone else. Debbie Tuttle is in the running.
“I just lay in bed at night dreaming of what I can do next,” she said surrounded by decorated trees in her living room. “I like to be different.”
Different is an understatement for the woman with over 135 trees in her home. Each room has a tree. Yes, even the bathroom. Each tree has a theme.
“That's my peacock tree,” she said, pointing to a tree with glittery blue and purple ornaments dangling from the branches. It sat next to a few trees in the kitchen that were decorated with food-related items.
The living room featured Mickey and Minnie Mouse trees, a snowman tree and a pair of 12-foot trees. Her house included sports-themed, vintage, and nautical trees.
There is even a tree in the pool.
“Everyone was posting this one on Facebook,” she said poolside.
Debbie surprises her husband, Bill, with new decorative ideas yearly. As festive as the displays are, they serve a bigger purpose than just illuminating her home. Debbie lives with the chronic pain associated with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Decorating her trees keeps her mind off the pain.
Three years ago, she came up with an idea to use her trees to ease the pain felt by others this time of year.
“They get so excited. I get so excited. I get so emotional. It's so rewarding.”
She opened her home to the community on December 2 and December 17. Anyone could come see her display. She placed a donation box in the house where visitors could leave money if they chose. The generosity was impressive. The two open houses netted $2,100 this year – enough to provide Christmas presents for three needy families in the Land O' Lakes area.
She and Bill will deliver the gifts on Christmas Eve. The families were suggested through local churches and other organizations.
“I want my grandkids to remember me and say I had the best Nana ever. 'I remember the years when my Nana would put up 135 years, invite all of her strangers to come into her house and tour it, and then help needy people with it',” she said.
Debbie hopes to continue her tree displays and keep giving out toys to kids in the area. She begins setting up her display in late-August. Next year, she may even add a few more.
“If somebody gives me a challenge, I definitely want to do that,” she said with a smile.