Many people agree that putting up one Christmas tree at home can be a daunting task, but a Hendersonville woman has 19 trees in her home.
"These trees, they are my canvas. So I can create any day, anytime, because I love my trees. I love entertaining," said tree collector Irene Kertchaval.
Kertchaval's home this time of year looks more like a museum.
"I have a dinosaur tree, an animal kingdom tree. I have the nutcracker tree here," Kertchaval said.
If it seems like a lot of work to decorate each one, it is, and she does it all alone.
It began several years ago when the 68-year-old was battling a serious illness and was determined not to just sit around.
"I said, 'oh my God, I can do all of this and then some.' So I really do this to encourage others to do something," Kertchaval said.
Each year, the collection of artificial trees grows.
Kertchaval said each one has special meaning, including a food-themed tree that honors a friend who is now a successful chef.
"Of course, you have a half-dozen of eggs here. And then you have the snow peas," Kertchaval said.
Also in the collection is a formal black-and-white tree and an owl tree, all decorated with special folks in mind.
A cotton tree honors her parents and grandparents.
"They picked cotton, then they were also able - when they put the cotton sack down, with their heads held high - to go into the community encouraging kids, their family, their neighbors," Kertchaval said.
After losing her husband last year, Kertchaval said she is more determined than ever to keep the tree decorations tradition going.
With 19 trees and counting, she said she is nowhere near her limit.
"Oh, no. I'm 68. Look what 68 does, and there's more and more and more," Kertchaval said.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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