The Town of Spruce Pine, Mitchell County, NC has been hit hard by layoffs from local mills and according to this USA Today article has found some work for its residents in marketing hand-made crafts. The White House Christmas tree this year features ornaments from the local craftsman. The website for the catalog is at homeoftheperfectchristmastree.org
According to their website: "During the Christmas season of 2003, author Gloria Houston gave a gift to the small town of Spruce Pine, North Carolina. She gave the rights to her award-winning children’s book, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree. Over the preceding twelve months, Spruce Pine and Mitchell County had suffered serious economic challenges, losing over 2,500 textile, furniture and other manufacturing sector jobs to outsourcing.
From that original idea, the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree project was born. With entrepreneurial development as a primary focus, the project has created 30 individual small businesses that have produced quality, handmade products as part of the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree collection. The project also serves as a scholarship tool, with a portion of royalties received from product sales used to fund a scholarship program is to combat the alarmingly low student retention rate at Mitchell High School, the only high school in the county."
The crafts featured in the online catalog are gorgeous and can be ordered by calling its toll-free number.
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: an Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Barbara Cooney (1988) tells the story of young Ruthie who finds the perfect tree before her father comes home from WW I and can be found in BHPL's Children's Department.