Palm City man makes handcrafted wooden Christmas ornaments

Jim Phelps carrying on 15-year tradition that started in Minnesota
Jim Phelps sitting next to wooden Christmas ornaments
Posted at 5:06 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 19:32:41-05

PALM CITY, Fla. — It's a Christmas tradition like no other.

Jim Phelps, an expert woodworker, makes wooden Christmas ornaments. Phelps and his wife, LaVerne Phelps, have a 12-foot Christmas tree with about 250 wooden handmade ornaments hanging from the branches.

"I started doing them, probably, oh, 15 years ago," Phelps said.

The wooden ornaments came to life one day when his daughter wanted to cut down a tree to use as a Christmas tree from his land in Minnesota.

Christmas tree decorated entirely of wooden ornaments
This Christmas tree is decorated with nothing but Jim Phelps' wooden ornaments.

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Phelps said to his daughter, "I don't do that that."

After his daughter said she just had to have one of the trees, Phelps relented.

"OK, but save me the bottom part of the tree and I'll make an ornament for you from that tree so the whole tree doesn't go to waste," Phelps told her.

In the next 15 years, Phelps made a few handmade wooden ornaments each year and the collection kept growing.

Jim Phelps making wooden Christmas ornament
Jim Phelps says he started making the wooden Christmas ornaments about 15 years ago.

"It just blew up from there," he said.

Not one of the ornaments is the same. Each ornament is different from one another, down to the meaning behind each one.

"A lot of guys stack cut where they can cut four or five of them at the same time," Phelps said. "I've never done that. I always change them a little bit to make them more unique and more personal."