GREAT FALLS — "All of these decorations were all done by my daughter,” homeowner Kara Emery said, talking about the ornaments on one of the Christmas trees in her house.
Emery has not one but two Christmas trees.
"She told me I couldn't put any of my ornaments on the tree, so thus we got a second tree,” Emery said, laughing.
Emery recently completed NeighborWorks Great Falls' owner-built homes program, moving into her new home, which she helped build, in April.
"It's very exciting. It's nice to be able to actually have a real tree larger than four feet tall. Our previous apartment was so small that big trees were not ideal for the location,” said Emery.
The real joy though comes not from the trees themselves or the ornaments on them but from what they represent.
"I have several ornaments I like,” Emery said. "Having a Christmas tree, having this moment, being done, it truly was a blessing because we've been through so much trying to get to this point. Being able to have a place that's all our own, that we can make changes to the house that we need or just have family over that couldn't come before, that is huge."
Emery and some of the other homeowners who recently completed the owner built homes program shared pictures of their trees with NeighborWorks Great Falls.
"We are just so excited to see them so excited to move in, to celebrate homeownership for the holidays,” said Chelsey Hutmacher of NeighborWorks Great Falls.
Homeowner Georgette Cope said the experience is something she's dreamed about since she was a little girl.
"I've always wanted a house with a nice big window in the front (to) be able to showcase all my decorations because I love Halloween, I love Christmas,” Cope explained. "I was happy, I was excited. Oh my gosh, there are so many adjectives i could use right now but I think the biggest thing is just looking at my smile."
A smile as big and bright as the Christmas tree in her living room.