Mystery ornament angel spreads Christmas cheer in Vernon, B.C.

A Vernon, B.C., woman is hand-painting Christmas ornaments and secretly hanging them from local trees "to make this world a little bit more positive."

Hand-painted Christmas ornaments have been found on trees in Vernon's BX and Polson parks

The hand-painted Christmas ornaments started showing up on trees in local parks in early November. (Pat Burnip)

If you are lucky, you might stumble across a little bit of Christmas in two Vernon, B.C., parks.

For the last couple of weeks a woman has been hand-painting Christmas ornaments and hanging them on local trees.

She had hoped to remain anonymous, but thanks to social media, the mystery ornament angel has been outed.

"My intention was never to sell them. It was just to make this world a little bit more positive in my own little way," said Vernon resident Pat Burnip.

Burnip started her positive outreach this fall by painting affirmations on rocks, "because I know that there are people out there any given day that are struggling with something," she said.

When the snow hit in early November, Burnip knew she had to change her tactics.

'I try to do it rather secretively'

A lover of painting, she now creates little Christmas scenes on small wood rounds — everything from snowmen to snowflakes and birds — which she then hangs with twine from trees.

She visits the BX dog park and Polson Park twice a week to hang the ornaments. So far, she's left about 40.

Burnip says she loves painting and if her ornaments make people smile, "it's a win-win." (Vicky Buckley/ Facebook)

"I try and do it rather secretively. I just get such a kick when I go back and it's gone," she said.

She imagines "that somebody liked it enough to take it and hopefully it brought a smile to their face."

Burnip was outed as the ornaments' creator after residents questioned who was behind the Christmas spirit and shared photos of the baubles online. 

Vernon residents have been sharing photos of the ornaments on social media.

Some people have also since contacted Burnip asking for custom ornaments for friends and family, though she doesn't charge for her services.

"I'm just so honoured to be part of their stories," she said.

'If it makes them smile ... it's a win-win'

While she's not sure how long she will continue her Christmas campaign, Burnip said residents can expect at least a few more ornaments to appear before she's done.

"If it makes them smile, then it's a win-win. Maybe there's that ripple effect. That they're feeling a little bit better and the next person that they see, they smile at them or treat them a little bit better," she said.

"I think if I can encourage other people to do random acts of kindness, that is a benefit of me coming out."

With files from CBC's Daybreak South.

About the Author

Jaimie Kehler

Jaimie Kehler is a web writer, producer and broadcaster based in Kelowna, B.C. She has also worked for CBC News in Toronto and Ottawa. To contact her with a story, email