At Linda Greene’s house, it’s always Christmas. In her modest home in New Palestine, she has around 100 decorated Christmas trees. She’s not sure exactly how many there are because she has never taken the time to count them. That’s because her husband really doesn’t want to know. What makes this story unique is that the trees are continually on display, always decorated. They are up the whole year, 24/7. ‘Tis the season. All the time.
Such was not always the case. When Linda first started her artificial tree collection in the ’70s, she trimmed each one for the holiday season, then meticulously wrapped each ornament and carefully stored it for the following December. Sound familiar? But with her current collection, Linda estimates that trimming all the trees would take six months and the process of un-decorating would take another six months. Even I can do that math. It was Charlie, her husband, who finally relented and suggested they stay up year-round. “Yes, it was his idea,” said Linda, “and the only time he regrets it is when it’s hard to find a place in the house to sit down.”
The trees fill all three floors of the home. All in decorative pots, they overwhelm the bathrooms, occupy most of the living room and make negotiating a trip through the master bedroom somewhat of a challenge. “I can’t bear to see a branch without ornaments; that’s almost criminal,” said Linda. New trees are only occasionally added. Few, if any, are ever retired from service. “Taking down a tree to make room for another,” Linda explained, “would be like abandoning one of my grandchildren.” Instead, she painstakingly rearranges the existing trees, sometimes zig-zagging them into a different pattern. “I may be at a tipping point,” she admited. “There really isn’t any more room.” She does admit there’s one tree in the closet that she needs to find a place for. Happy hunting.
Each tree is themed, adorned with items Linda finds in antique stores and seasonal shops. There’s a ballerina tree, one with antique toys, another with Raggedy Ann dolls, an Indianapolis Colts tree, a snowman tree and one with nothing but gumdrops. One tree sits in an antique fire bucket and has a red hose as a garland. All the ornaments are toy fire trucks and related items.
Linda Greene is the perfect ambassador for the holidays, sharing her passion and answering all questions about her unique home. “What’s your electric bill this time of year?” I asked her.
“THAT, we don’t talk about,” she told me.