The holiday season can be a lonely time for a family with a service member deployed somewhere around the world. Christmas Decor, one of the largest professional holiday decorators, is helping to get military families into the holiday spirit thanks to their Decorated Family Program. Now in its 12th year, the Decorated Family Program decorates the homes of military families as a thank you for their service. “The reason we are doing it, is that we know how hard it can be when one or both of the parents sometimes are gone,” said Brandon Stephens, Christmas Decor president.
“The reason we are doing it, is that we know how hard it can be when one or both of the parents sometimes are gone.”
The Decorated Family Program was started in 2003 by Christmas Decor franchisee Christmas Decor of Kennewick, Wash., and Senske Lawn & Tree Care, who were looking for a way to thank military families and first responders. “They presented it at one of our annual conferences and it caught on, our franchisees just jumped all over it,” said Stephens. Since then, Christmas Decor has decorated the homes of some 1,300 military families. “Our goal every year is to decorate at least 200 homes and we’ve eclipsed that in the last 4 or 5 years,” said Stephens. The Decorated Family Program is not Christmas Decor’s first foray into donated decorating; for years they have decorated Ronald McDonald Houses across the United States.
The way it works is that military families are nominated by members of their local communities. Winners are picked based on their location, to ensure that a Christmas Decor franchise is in their area and able to provide the award, as well as the impact their nomination story has on the judges. “We go out and try to locate families in every market, some franchisees do one, and we have franchisees that do a half-dozen every year,” said Stephens. Even though a product credit is offered by Christmas Decor to help the franchisee offset some of the costs, that credit often goes unclaimed. “Most of the franchisees don’t even apply for the credit, they just do it,” added Stephens.
“We have decorated World War II veterans’ homes before as extensions of the program.”
Some parts of the country don’t have a large presence of active duty military families, so the Decorated Family Program improvises. “We have decorated World War II veterans’ homes before as extensions of the program,” said Stephens.
Military families have shown an overwhelmingly positive response to the Decorated Family Program. “We get a ton of fantastic feedback from all over the country. We even have, sometimes, the soldiers themselves shoot us an email or pipe into a Skype call and thank us,” said Stephens. The reason for such positive feedback might be for the effect Christmas decorations can have. “It creates a warm feeling for the holidays, it makes the holidays a little bit nicer, and just creates a little more magic with the holidays,” said Stephens.
“It creates a warm feeling for the holidays.”
If you wish to nominate a military family for the Decorated Family Program, the nomination form can be found on the Christmas Decor Facebook page. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 19.
This story was posted previously by our late friend Steven Hoarn during the last holiday season. The story still, however, accurately describes a great program that is running today, and as such has been updated to reflect current information and re-posted here.