MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (TMJ4) — A handmade wooden tree in Milwaukee is bringing a lot of happiness to people who come across it.
It all started the day after Christmas, a year ago, when Jerry Burns found a healthy Christmas tree thrown out on his curb.
“I just happened to have an extra tree stand, and I thought, well, 'I’m gonna plop that down right here on the corner. That's a prominent place everybody could see,'” said Burns.
He had extra ornaments from his own tree that he used to decorate the tree. He also left a note on the tree, inviting people to take an ornament and leave an ornament.
“Surprisingly, people kind of rose to the occasion and there was a lot of interplay there," he said.
Burns kept the tree up and decorated it for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.
When the needles on the tree browned and it was time to throw it away, he decided to use some old plywood to make a wooden, permanent version of a tree marking the beginning of a tradition.
From Bastille day to Dia de Los Muertos and the Fourth of July, Burns created what he now calls the "All Season Tree." He says this year's Christmas tree is about the 20th variation.
Each holiday comes with its own unique decorations and additions to bring the community together, like taking a can of food and leaving a can of food on world hunger day, or offering mittens and hats for folks who may need them during the winter.
“The idea kind of catches on, random acts of kindness,” said Burns. “Other people kind of pick it up and push it forward.”
His latest addition to the tree is a handmade Little Free Library, where people passing by can leave a book and take a new one. He says the response to the tree has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Perfect strangers would roll down their window and say, 'I love your tree it makes me feel so good!'” Burns said.
This story was originally reported on tmj4.com.