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Tree decorating guru brings joy to others
by Bobby Tedder
December 18, 2013 09:38 AM | 2400 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff/Samantha M. Shal
Verna Cleveland, with her "upside down" Christmas tree.
Staff/Samantha M. Shal Verna Cleveland, with her "upside down" Christmas tree.
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Verna Cleveland’s adoration of Christmastime manifests itself in her trees.

Others have begun to notice, contributing to her growing reputation for decorating them with a fervor and flair seen as downright uncanny.

“It’s an art form for me,” said Cleveland. “It’s also therapeutic; … it’s an interesting process.”

Perhaps her most defining handiwork can be found in the eclectic aesthetics of the 70-plus trees — all but one artificial — that populate the home she shares with physician husband, Bill, and their two young daughters. They are virtually everywhere there and of varying dimensions (from 12 inches to 12 feet tall), each uniquely adorned to express their owner’s genuine yuletide cheer.

A tour of the home reveals conspicuous gems like the cluster of snow-capped trees that highlight the first floor and Cleveland’s personal favorite, an upside-down tree.

“It’s our winter wonderland,” said Cleveland. “Everywhere you walk in my house you will see and feel Christmas.”

Consider it apropos that such an enchanting abode would be found in Midtown’s Sherwood Forest section.

Yet, Cleveland’s art and craft has begun to extend beyond the family domicile. From designing trees for friends to doing the same for the less fortunate, word of her “gift” is spreading.

“She helps a bunch of us and she’s just really great at it,” said friend Lynn-Anne Huck, of Buckhead. “And she’s decorating trees for homeless shelters this year … which I think is the coolest thing in the world.”

Cleveland, who runs a consulting firm by day, is no stranger to the nonprofit realm as she sits on the boards of multiple organizations.

Her latest artistic endeavor stems from being around husband’s dialysis clinics.

“Many of his patients are homeless,” Cleveland said. “These are people who are having a tough time on a day-to-day basis.

“Since I like to decorate trees, I feel this is one way of helping them enjoy Christmas … as everyone should be able to.”

Between now and the holiday, one can likely find the 5-foot-4 design dynamo doing what she does best this time of year.

“I usually like to do it when it’s quiet,” said Cleveland. “I’ll usually be done in about three hours … and it’ll be a work of art to me.”
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