Through the month of December, visitors to Black Mountain’s Monte Vista Hotel will be treated to an array of hand-decorated Christmas trees spread throughout the hotel to benefit Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministries (SVCM). “Deck the Trees provides a space where families can come together and enjoy the sights, sounds and spirit of Christmas,” says Libba Fairleigh, the event’s cocoordinator with Sue Conlon. “There is a relaxed atmosphere as people walk around and enjoy the artistic, whimsical, homespun interpretation of a theme on Christmas.”
The theme for this year’s fundraiser is “80 Years of Christmas,” honoring the hotel’s 80th anniversary. “For 80 years, the Monte Vista has celebrated the season spectacularly,” says Conlon, co-owner of the Monte Vista Hotel. “In 2011, our first Christmas as the new owners, we looked for a way to carry on this tradition and to share it with the Black Mountain community. Since then, Deck the Trees has become a real community project. Each year we come together, celebrate the season, count our blessings and share those blessings with others.” Trees are decorated by nonprofits such as the Black Mountain Fire Department, Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League and the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church Weekday School, as well as business owners and some individuals. The hotel is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily for viewing. On Monday, December 4, from 4:30–6:30 p.m., the hotel will host pictures with Santa.
Each Christmas tree will have a designated box where visitors can deposit cash or check to cast a vote for their favorite tree. The Monte Vista Hotel absorbs all expenses for the Deck the Trees event so that all donations go straight to SVCM, an organization that provides immediate relief for those in need as well as educational advancement, job placement and job training services. “When the recession was at its peak, the organizers of Deck the Trees wanted to select an organization that meets the needs of local people,” says Conlon. “SVCM serves all who live in the Swannanoa Valley and we saw this as a way to honor the work they do.”
Votes will be tallied daily to identify which tree generated the most money for SVCM. There will be an awards ceremony at the hotel on Wednesday, December 20, from 6–8 p.m. The tree that raised the most money will be given a gift, and there will also be a prize for the tree where Monte, the hotel’s resident feline, spends most of her time. “Prize is not really the goal,” says Fairleigh. “The prize is the emotional satisfaction of knowing that you brought joy to the community and helped a family in need.”
The Monte Vista Hotel is located at 308 West State Street in downtown Black Mountain. For more information, visit themontevistahotel.net.