It is believed that celebrating “Christmas in July” started more than 100 years ago in North Carolina at Keystone Camp in Brevard. Terre Colabella, a Florida transplant and retired home economics teacher, keeps that tradition alive at Burke United Christian Ministries.
After her husband died in 2009, Colabella felt the call to give back to the community in a way that would be a celebration of the life they shared and a loving reminder of his favorite holiday. She fulfilled the call by creating a collection of custom Christmas crafts to sell to support BUCM’s mission, which is to restore resilience in people living in poverty or homelessness while ensuring their essential needs are met. Every dollar raised from the crafts will benefit the ministry.
“Each item created has been lovingly made with the hope that the craft would be a lifelong keepsake that would bring joy to the owner at Christmastime or possibly all year,” said Alice Horton, executive director of BUCM. “Terre isn’t alone in her mission to celebrate Christmas year-round; she has recruited other ‘special elves’ who help to make it all happen.”
Colabella serves on the BUCM board of directors and chairs the ministry’s outreach committee.
“I feel blessed to be able to use my God-given gift to create joy for others,” she said. “At this time, we need the love and the joy.”
The crafts are not yet on display, but she is working with Horton and others at BUCM to find a place to set them up. People who would like to shop the collection in the meantime may do so by stopping by BUCM during its normal hours of operation and asking for Colabella, who said she will gladly show them what she’s made.
“We’re really proud of Terre,” Horton said. “We’re really proud of the work that all the Santa elves do here to make things awesome year-round for BUCM.”
Colabella is recruiting aspiring elves to help spread the Christmas spirit. Those interested should call her at 828-433-8075. She also is accepting donations of gently-used or new Christmas items, large and small. Donations can be dropped off at the BUCM office at 305-B West Union St. in Morganton.
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