The North Country Decorates New Hampshire's Part Of The National Christmas Tree Display

Dec 3, 2015

Twelve ornaments - each almost four inches tall - were created by the Androscoggin River Athletes of the Special Olympics.
Credit New Hampshire State Council on the Arts

Thursday night the National Christmas Tree will be lit in Washington.

And while that’s the centerpiece on the National Mall, it’s surrounded by smaller trees representing each state.

And this year for the first time the decorations for New Hampshire’s tree were created by a group from Berlin.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports….

Each year the state’s Council on the Arts decides who will make the ornaments for the state’s tree.

The Council’s Cassandra Mason says the key is finding a talented artist who will donate the time, has organizational skills and one more thing:

“And also someone who has the creativity to help the team of participants make ornaments that show us New Hampshire.”

In this case that is painter and sculptor Andre Belanger who owns Studio Works in Berlin.  And his vision?  Snow globes filled with wintry New Hampshire scenes.

“Essentially everybody had the same image, which was a globe filled with snow and sky.”

For help Belanger selected about a dozen local Special Olympics athletes who range in age from 11 to their mid-70s.

They created decorations to go inside the almost four inch high plastic globes.

Then, over the course of one afternoon Belanger and the athletes put different things inside the globe ranging from small ornaments to drawings.

“The energy that was in that room was almost sublime. Giggling, playing, laughing supporting. Passing one another tools.”

“Each individual found his or her own self worth, but they were so proud of the other person’s stuff. It just fascinated the hell out of me. So proud, regardless of whether or not it was technically good, it was…it was the Christmas spirit just coming through.”

Other than some white and gold lights the globes from Berlin are the only decorations on the seven foot North Carolina Fraser Fir.

Last year the decorations were done at the Veteran’s Home in Tilton.

For NHPR this is Chris Jensen