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'Lit Happens,' Orillia business woman capitalizes on city's infamous tree lighting


A downtown Orillia business owner is leveraging the attention of the city's underwhelming Christmas tree 'trunk' lighting by selling 'Lit Happens' merchandise to raise funds for charity, capitalizing on the incident that garnered disappointment among residents and even drew humour from The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon.

"The fact that it has sort of spun into this crazy thing that went to the news, then went to the bigger news, then went to Jimmy Fallon, it's just really crazy and really awesome," said Creative Nomad Studios co-owner Anitta Hamming.

Hamming said that despite knowing the aging tree that has been used for more than 40 years for the city's annual tree lighting would only have the trunk decorated, even she was underwhelmed by the display.

"I think, like, everyone else, it was like, 'Ohh, okay. It didn't have the effect that I thought it would have," she chuckled.

After the tree lighting started making headlines, Hamming said she awoke at 4 a.m. one day with the idea to make the most of it.

"I just thought we should have fun with this. We need to own this, so why don't we spin it into something great, and we could raise some money for charity."

The Orillia woman has even wrapped just the trunks of the two trees outside her Mississaga Street business with lights.

"I think we really need to put some positive energy on this and make this a positive thing because I think that voice is louder," Hamming said.

Lit Happens merchandise is being sold by Creative Nomad Studios online. (Source: Creative Nomad Studios)

The City has since explained the tree's branches are too weak and withered to be able to hold lights or ornaments, which is why the decision was made only to decorate the trunk.

"You have to laugh because it's funny," Hamming said. "How else would Orillia ever end up on The Tonight Show? It's Jimmy Fallon, like seriously."

The tree lighting in Orillia, Ont. (Courtesy: Leslie Fournier)

The merchandise is available for sale online and has an image of a tree with only the trunk lit up and the words, 'Lit Happens Stay Sparkling' on the front and ' Living a Lit Life in Orillia 2023' on the back.

"The orders are coming in, and I'm really excited about that," she said, adding they sent Jimmy Fallon some merchandise as well.

"We sent him a hoodie, a t-shirt and two mugs, and I hope he wears it or he puts a mug on his desk because we want him to know Orillia has a sense of humour," she said.

Hamming said the money raised from the sales would go toward outreach programs across Orillia.

As for what happens next year, Hamming said that despite the negative reaction it got this year, she would love to see the trunk of the same old tree lit once again.

"And I hope instead of the candlelight march up the street, that everybody has a little stick with a little string of lights coming up it and they all know, and they embrace it and they love it. And until we actually have to replace the tree, I hope we all just love it," she concluded. Top Stories

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