Christmas tree keeps Encinitas woman in the holiday spirit year-round
Nadia Colucci’s tree-trimming advice was recently featured on the “Rachael Ray Show”
Nadia Colucci doesn’t mind being called the “crazy Christmas tree lady.”
The eight-foot artificial tree in the real estate broker’s Encinitas living room is seasonally decorated year-round with decorations so creative that her tree-trimming advice was featured earlier this year on the “Rachael Ray Show.”
Colucci, 43, said Christmas has always been her favorite time of year. After celebrating her first Christmas in her new home in 2018, she loved the look and feel of the tree so much that she decided to keep it up in her living room a little bit longer, so she redecorated it for Valentine’s Day.
A month later, she swapped out the tree’s decor for St. Patrick’s Day items. Then came Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas again. This year she added a Mardi Gras tree, and in the spring she had a COVID-19 version, complete with face masks, rubber gloves, sanitizing wipes and a case of Corona beer.
“She was the least favorite of all my trees,” said Colucci, who keeps a running photo gallery and blog of her “holi-trees” on her company’s website: NorthCompassRealty.com/Treemendous. Her blog attracted the attention of the Facebook page “Color Made Happy,” which has nearly 250,000 followers. And that, in turn, led to Colucci’s appearance on Rachael Ray’s show in March.
Colucci is a first-generation American born to Italian immigrant parents, who always celebrate Christmas in a big way.
“Christmas was always such a fun time for my big family. It always warms my heart. I love the togetherness of it,” she said.
Born and raised in Vista, Colucci graduated from the University of San Diego. She worked for a corporate real estate broker for 18 years before starting her own brokerage, North Compass Realty, in Carlsbad, which she runs with broker Anne Benitez. The job is so demanding that Colucci said she has little time for fun and relaxation besides playing the occasional game of beach volleyball (at 6 feet tall, she’s a key team player).
The only creative outlet she ever had was decorating the Christmas tree, so she turned it into a year-round activity. Because she lives alone, she didn’t have to worry about someone objecting to her yule tree passion.
“The first tree, for Valentine’s Day, was pretty timid, but I loved it,” she said. “I’d come home and see it after a long day of work, switch it on and it was fun. I think sometimes we forget all of the kind comments and words we share during Christmastime, so the tree was a nice way to give me that same good feeling.”
Although she has taken the tree down for a month or two here and there to use the space in her living room for a new cocktail bar cart, it doesn’t say in storage for very long. On June 29, she pulled it out again to get it dolled up for the Fourth of July.
“More than ever I have a patriotic feeling and want to be strong because there’s so much chaos going on in the world right now for multiple reasons,” she said.
It takes her only about a half-hour to decorate the tree from start to finish. She likes to use a mix of decorating materials, including flowers, lights, ribbons, strings of beads and ornaments. She prefers buying inexpensive decorations on Amazon and at stores like Hobby Lobby and the 99-Cent Store. She also enjoys surprising viewers by adding non-traditional items that people don’t expect on a tree, like the face mask, fans, signs, hats, flags and ghosts.
Through the Rachael Ray show and her own Instagram page (@nadiaontherun), Colucci has gotten positive feedback on her trees from people all over the world, including in Brazil and Hong Kong. She has also noticed that because of the pandemic, many people have been putting their Christmas trees and lights up this spring and summer to lift their spirits.
“Christmas is such a great time, so by keeping the tree up it spreads peace, love and joy throughout the year,” she said.
-- Pam Kragen is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune
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