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Red Deer couple decorates 129 trees for Christmas

COVID-19 restrictions prevents people from seeing trees in person
Red Deer’s Tom Kereluk (left) and Vince Jackman (right) have decorated 129 Christmas trees this season in their home. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer residents Vince Jackman and Tom Kereluk have decorated 129 trees to celebrate Christmas this year.

But with regulations aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 people aren’t able to come into their home to see them.

For about 15 years, the Red Deer couple has had a tradition of decorating their home, baking cheesecakes and inviting friends and family over for a Christmas party. That tradition needed to be altered this year due with the province’s current social gathering regulations.

“We had planned on doing cheesecake parties and space them out over six weeks,” said Jackman.

“Unfortunately with the latest rounds of COVID (regulations) everything got cancelled. We just have something online.”

The decorating process began in October. There is a new Santa Claus-themed tree and a new Canadian-themed tree featuring national and provincial flags.

There is also a new 12-foot tree – the second in the couple’s home. One of the 12-footers has traditional Christmas decorations and the other has plastic fruits and vegetables.

Kereluk and Jackman raise money for the Central Alberta Humane Society through their tree decorating every year. Due to only being able to show off the trees online this Christmas, Jackman said he expects donations to be “basically cut in half” this season.

“We love animals. We’ve had rescue dogs over the years,” said Jackman.

“It’s about making sure animals are taken care of and we can be a voice for them.”

The two say hopefully there are no COVID-19 regulations in place next Christmas.

“It’ll be bigger and better next year,” said Kereluk.

Jackman said he still has some hope for this year too.

“We usually keep this going until Ukrainian Christmas. So if the lockdown (ends), we could have individual people walking through with all the precautions, like masks and hand-sanitizing before they come,” he said.

For more information, and to see videos of the home’s trees, search for Sofia Celebrates Christmas on Facebook.

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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