BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - For some families, one Christmas tree is plenty to “deck the halls,” and for others, putting up two or three is an even bigger feat.
At first, there were only five trees in Candace Edwards’ Baldwinsville home.
Since then, she’s been donning her home with at least four or five dozen trees each year.
For year 20, Edwards decided to raise the bar much higher with a little motivation from a past NewsChannel 9 story.
“It just kept growing and growing and people kind of urged me on to reach 100 and actually a story was done by NewsChannel 9 last year for a family that had 100 trees and I only had 65,” Edwards shared. “So, all my friends started calling and saying, ‘What the heck?” So, I thought this would be the year I'd hit 100 and I actually have 113.”
Edwards is the executive director at BASCOL and has long been active in many volunteer efforts across Central New York. For years, she’s given some of her terrific trees to non-profit organizations for auction to raise money for good causes.
This year, she has a few trees that will benefit schools with supplies and Vera House Inc.
Edwards’ love for decorating trees is a continued tradition from when she was growing up.
Her favorite tree out of all 113, is the “life tree” in her living room.
“It symbolizes when my two daughters were first born,” Edwards shared. “Their ornaments from the day they were born, till this year. Each year it grows and if you can see some of the ornaments again now have gone to my grandchildren. There's Amira, Alija, Zakir, Owen, Wesley and Cole.”
Her grandchildren have inspired many of her trees, which then become gifts for them.
"I research things on how to do the trees a little bit differently than what you're used to seeing as a regular holiday tree and that's always fun,” Edwards said.
Some of this year’s “children’s trees,” include a “Trolls” tree, Minions, Grinch, an emoji tree, Mickey Mouse, the circus, superheroes, Hello Kitty and the Abominable Snowman.
There are also trees with themes such as the Women's Right to Vote, Mardi Gras, Mackenzie-Childs and Syracuse University sports.
Fitting 113 trees inside her home means making the most of every room, which includes bathrooms and the laundry room.
Edwards says she takes apart each tree every year and starts from scratch the following year.
The biggest question might be – when does she set up and decorate each Christmas tree?
“I usually would do it within the weekend of Thanksgiving,” Edwards explained. “Because that's the weekend that I have off Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and I kind of put Christmas music on I don't go to sleep and I just do trees."
Each tree has a number on it and a name for its theme. These details are then used for a scavenger hunt for families who attend one of her holiday parties.
“What happens is, they get a list of the various trees and they'll go through the house and write what name they think goes with each of the trees,” Edwards said. “Then, depending on how many they find correctly…they go in and they pick out prizes.”
For the first time this year, Edwards will host an open house in which everyone is invited.
The Syracuse Federation of Women's club is sponsoring the open house. It’s $5 to enter and all the proceeds will go to the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center.
It will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 16 at her home, located at 7233 Van Buren Road in Baldwinsville. All are welcome to attend.
“Christmas means so much with family and friends and it always has with my family,” Edwards said. “Growing up on a farm, my mom and dad would always have everyone for Christmas and so, I wanted to continue the tradition with my family as my daughters have their kids. We are and it's so much fun."
The 20th year of decorating trees is even more meaningful for Edwards. Twenty years ago, she drew up the plans for her home on her own and her friend and architect, Dan Manning, helped bring her dream home to life.
Manning’s wife, Debbie, was a long-time friend to Edwards. Debbie passed away this year after a battle with lung cancer. Edwards designed a special tree in her friend’s honor complete with one of Debbie’s necklaces.
A second angel tree also memorializes one of Edwards’ employees at BASCOL, Debbie Labulis.
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