During summers, the tree beside Bob and Dianne Isbell-O'Brien's house in Shiloh produces cherries, but around Christmas time it produces cheeries.
That's because Bob and Dianne spend countless hours happily decorating the tree with ornaments and decorations.
"I just bought 20 more," Dianne said on Thursday. "I'm going to the store to get some more. I see some empty spots. The tree grows every year."
The tree on Cedarwood Drive in Shiloh, off Old Collinsville Road, is about 40 feet tall because they have a 30-foot pole they use to put on ornaments and sometimes it also takes a ladder.
Dianne is the etiquette columnist for the News-Democrat. Bob is in the automobile business.
"It's fun," Dianne said. "Sometimes people stop and ask us how we get the ornaments up in the tree. Sometimes kids help us. They are getting the hang of how to work the pole."
The extendable pole holds a tool created out of a paint roller handle which makes it easier to hang the big outdoor ornaments. Bob designed it along with a different type of hooks, Dianne said.
"With the spotlights on at night, the ornaments twirl and glitter," she said. "It's really beautiful."
The couple started decorating the tree about six years ago.
"I saw these big ornaments and liked them," Dianne said. "I said let's try to put them on the tree."
Now they have more than 300, maybe 400 hanging on it. They never have counted them.
"They are outdoor ornaments," Dianne said. "They are supposed to be shatterproof. But occasionally one blows off on the driveway and it will crack. We repair it."
She hot glues the tops of each ornament each year to make sure they stay on.
While the different hooks make the ornaments easier to get on, they also make them harder to get off.
Dianne said they would love to have a cherry picker when it comes time to take them down particularly in sub-freezing weather but they have to draw the line at some expenses.
"I buy them on sale," she said. "I use coupons all over the place, but still it gets expensive."
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