Ronda LaChapelle isn’t a fan of Governor Lincoln Chafee, but she said her Christmas creation doesn’t have much to do with that.
LaChapelle hopes she has created what will soon become a Christmas collectible: a “This is a Christmas Tree” ornament with “Rhode Island 2012” written underneath a drawing of the classic holiday icon.
LaChapelle said the idea occurred to her one morning while at her favorite spot, the Dunkin’ Donuts at Hoxsie Four Corners. Over a cup of coffee, LaChapelle noticed that one of the regulars had put a sign on the Dunkin’ Christmas tree that read: “This is a Christmas Tree.” It was clearly a jab at Governor Chafee’s decision to yet again call the State House tree a “Holiday Tree.”
LaChapelle said she began noticing signs like this on other trees in public places, and thought it could be fun to create an ornament bearing the same slogan.
“It was something I saw and I agree with it,” she said.
So she took pen to paper and drafted up a design. She approached several places before finding someone willing to create the ornaments on such a tight turnaround time.
Finally a friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, made LaChapelle’s creation into a metal ornament.
LaChapelle is no stranger to starting new ventures. Years ago she worked for attorney Joseph McGair and then went into sales. More than 10 years ago she started Ronda’s Cleaning, which she continues to operate. She is the mother of a 3-year-old boy and engaged to be married.
The first ornament was completed on Friday, and after LaChapelle gave it her seal of approval, she ordered 250 more, which will arrive by Thursday. Her friend said they’ll continue to make the ornaments (depending on demand) up until Christmas Day.
LaChapelle plans to sell ornaments for $10. She’ll donate $2 of each sale to Toys for Tots, a suggestion from one of her fellow Dunkin’ Donuts patrons. She hopes they will become a collector’s item, and plans to change the design of the ornament each year and produce a limited quantity.
“Like the Hess trucks,” she said.
LaChapelle thinks like-minded people will see the ornaments as a must-have novelty.
“I hope people put them on their trees and in 20 years from now say, ‘Yeah, I remember that,’” she said.
LaChapelle said she doesn’t have a theory as to why the governor refuses to call the evergreen in the State House a Christmas tree.
“It’s been a Christmas tree as long as I can remember,” she said. “And it should stay that way.”
LaChapelle has set up a Facebook page called “This is A Christmas Tree 2012,” where she will be taking orders from those interested in purchasing an ornament. She’ll also take orders by phone at 345-1165. Though there haven’t been any official orders filled yet, LaChapelle said she has had a lot of interest and inquiries.