First Lady Laura Bush Makes White House a Home…of the Perfect Christmas Tree
Spruce Pine Project Reps Invited to White House Where Two Christmas Trees are Adorned with Handcrafted Ornaments from Local Artisans
Congressman Patrick McHenry announces the First Lady of the United States Laura Bush today invited representatives from the Spruce Pine-based Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree project to visit the White House for the unveiling of this year’s White House Christmas trees – two of which are adorned with ornaments crafted by Western North Carolina artisans.
“The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree project is the very definition of using creativity to overcome adversity,” Congressman Patrick McHenry said. “I commend Shirley Hise, Patti Jensen and the local craftsmen and artists who contribute their skills to strengthen the economic and educational opportunities in Mitchell County.”
“Mrs. Bush’s invitation to the White House and public recognition of this project shows – on an unprecedented scale – that Western North Carolina is blessed with innovative and dedicated people who are fighting to improve our region,” McHenry added.
Congressman McHenry contacted Mrs. Bush’s office in July to recommend the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree project be a part of the White House’s 2006 Christmas celebration. The First Lady’s office notified the Congressman and Mrs. Hise in August to inform them that the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree operation was selected to participate.
Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree representatives attended a decorators’ reception at the White House today hosted by Mrs. Bush. Two White House Christmas trees are presently garnished with 135 hand-blown red glass balls and 115 Carolina Snowflakes, courtesy of the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree collection.
The project has created 30 individual small businesses that have produced quality, handmade products as part of the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree collection. The venture also serves as a scholarship tool, wherein a portion of the royalties received from product sales are used to fund a scholarship program for Mitchell County High School students.
“This is a once in a lifetime chance for a small community such as Spruce Pine and Mitchell County,” Shirley Hise, Executive Director of the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce, said. “Our county and town have experienced devastating losses over the past several years, having lost one-third of our manufacturing jobs in furniture and in textiles. However, our Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree project is a story of hope and courage in the life of a community that is trying to rebuild for the future.”
Mrs. Hise went on to say, “Being featured in the White House Christmas for 2006 has brought excitement to our community. This is only something one dreams, and for us, it is a dream come true.”
During the Christmas season of 2003, author Gloria Houston gave the rights to her award-winning children’s book, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, to Mitchell County. Two years later, in 2005, the Mitchell County Development Foundation leased and renovated a retail facility in downtown Spruce Pine to serve as the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree store.
The Foundation formed a Product Review Committee comprised of highly qualified craftspeople to designate product quality standards and conduct calls to artists for handcrafted products to be licensed as Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree merchandise. The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree collection now features over 300 high quality products by 30 product makers from the mountain counties of Mitchell, Yancey, McDowell, Avery and Buncombe.
Congressman McHenry and Mrs. Hise will be featured on Fox and Friends at 6:20 AM on Friday, December 1st to talk about the project and its positive effects in Western North Carolina.
To order a catalogue or find more information on the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree project, please visit: www.homeoftheperfectchristmastree.org or call toll free at 1-866-485-8733.