Residents of Vernon, British Columbia were treated to an early Christmas surprise this year when handmade ornaments began to mysteriously appear in a local park.
The ornaments, which are made of painted woodcuts, were decorated with Christmas scenes ranging from snowflakes, to birds, to snowmen. Dozens of decorations were found, some of which were taken home by local residents.
The project was started by one woman, Pat Burnip, who was hoping to spread some holiday cheer to her neighbours. She began doing drops twice a week, and has now hung around forty of her hand-painted ornaments in Polson Park.
“I know that there are people out there any given day that are struggling with something,” she said. “If it makes them smile, then it’s a win-win.”
Burnip had hoped to remain anonymous, but her identity came to light after photos of her work circulated on social media. However, the reveal of her identity did not stop her hanging her ornaments.
“I try to do it secretly,” she told the CBC, “I just get such a kick when I go back and it’s gone, that somebody liked it enough to take it and hopefully it brought a smile to their face.”
Now, Burnip is getting commissions from fans of her work. While she insists she will never take payment for an ornament, she is more than happy to do a few custom orders.
“I’m just so honoured to be part of their stories.”
This is not Burnip’s first attempt to spread some positivity and cheer within her community. In the fall, she left rocks hand-painted with affirmations for people to find, hoping they would brighten someone’s day.
“I think if I can encourage other people to do random acts of kindness, that is a benefit of me coming out.”
While Burnip is not sure how much longer she can continue her Christmas campaign, Vernon residents can expect at least a few more cheerful surprises this holiday season.