Christmas competition is creating a special season for seniors, giving back to charities

A Christmas contest isn’t only benefiting charity but also bringing something special to area seniors.

The Festival of Trees at Belmont Village Senior Living at Hunters Creek comes with a twist. Not only are volunteers there decorating the trees to benefit local non-profit organizations, they’re also doing it as part of a competition.

"I am very competitive, and I mean Santa is on my side. So we’re definitely going to win," laughs Liz Lopez with The Care Team Hospice who came to decorate while decked out in a Santa suit and reindeer ears.

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Seeing the special trees seems to spark a certain something in everyone who goes by. "It's magic. It makes everybody feel so cheerful and so happy," smiles 90-year-old Belmont resident Joy Humphrey.

"Besides Santa Claus and gifts we all need a Christmas tree. It gives people a sense of joy and of course, children love it because you put gifts all around the bottom," adds 92-year-old Janet Myers.

Employees from seven Houston organizations are decorating the trees at Belmont Village. "A lot of times I don’t think seniors get the attention that they really need. They give back to their families for years and years, and now it’s our turn to help them," says volunteer Cindy Endres with Interim Healthcare of Houston.

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The help doesn't stop there. Each volunteer group of decorators has chosen a different charity. "We selected Bo’s Place, which is a local organization here in Houston, and it specializes in grief support," Lopez says.

"We chose Twilight Wish Foundation. Twilight Wish is much like Make-A-Wish for children, but it’s for seniors," says Endres.

The tree that’s voted to be the most beautifully decorated will win a $500 donation for their charity. "We’re going to have our families, residents and anyone who visits the community, anyone throughout Houston that wants to come can place their vote," explains Kim Ward with Belmont Village Senior Living.

Every time someone votes, $4 will be donated to Houston charities.

Team Lopez is already nearly declaring the win with their cardinal-themed tree. "The legend of the cardinal is when a cardinal is near it signifies that there’s someone who you’ve lost, their soul is present, or it’s a symbol from God or a symbol from Heaven," Lopez explains.

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"We have a lot of people that came here to decorate trees to make us all happy. It makes us feel joyful and grateful. I’m enjoying every minute of it and all the colors with the lights flickering," Humphrey adds.

It’s even more special considering the last two Christmas holidays have been in isolation due to the pandemic. "Oh, it was dreadful, dreadful. It was an awful time. You couldn’t visit friends, you couldn’t have your relatives. So I’m really enjoying Christmas this year," smiles Myers.

You can see and vote on the finished Christmas trees for yourself at Belmont Village Senior Living Hunters Creek located at 7667 Woodway Drive.