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Community Christmas tree helps connect Calgary neighbourhood over the holidays

Calgary couple helps connect neighbourhood with community tree
WATCH: A Calgary couple is bringing their Millrise community closer this holiday season. As Global’s Tomasia DaSilva reports, they’re doing it with a fake tree and one ornament at a time!

A Calgary couple is astounded at the response they have received after putting up an artificial Christmas tree outside of their Millrise home.

“It was amazing,” said Jan Andersen.

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The Andersens have been putting up the tree, just outside of their fence, for a few years now.

But this year, they also put up a sign telling people it was a community tree to be shared by all. Soon after, neighbours and strangers started dropping by and putting ornaments up.

Sign on community tree urging neighbours to join in the holiday spirit.
Sign on community tree urging neighbours to join in the holiday spirit. Tomasia DaSilva

“We’ve had ladies up the street that have said their kids won’t start to celebrate until the tree is up,” Andersen said. “You have no idea the impact you’re having on people.”

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One of those impacted has been neighbour Suzanne Middleton. She is relatively new to the area and has been walking her dog by the tree almost every day.

On Tuesday, she stopped to put up her own ornament.

“I think it’s just a step back in time, really, when people were a bit friendlier and open, rather than just driving to your garage and closing the door. I think it’s just wonderful,” Middleton said.

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The community tree is quite popular. It has even been featured on the Millrise Community Facebook page.

The Calgary couple is overwhelmed by the response to the community tree.
The Calgary couple is overwhelmed by the response to the community tree. Tomasia DaSilva

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The family has also received notes and gifts thanking them for their efforts, but they were quick to add they probably get far more out of it than their neighbours do.

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“It costs nothing and the goodwill it’s provided for the neighbourhood, and the goodwill it’s provided for us, has been phenomenal,” Andersen said. “It’s just amazing. It totally has made our Christmas.”

The Andersens also put out a flower arrangement in the spring and summer that draws people from the neighbourhood and beyond.

“So little can mean so much,” Andersen said.

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