A mother-of-three, who decorates her nine foot artificial Christmas tree with 100 Disney bears, has received an accolade from the film giant, deeming her festive efforts a roaring success.
Leanne Tague, 34 – who takes just a few hours to expertly cover the Yuletide branches with the teddies she has been collecting for more than 12 years – received a congratulatory email from Disney, after her friend entered her tree into a Facebook contest.
Leanne, of Wirral, Merseyside, said: ‘My friend entered it into a Christmas tree competition on Facebook and it got thousands of likes.
Leanne Tangue decorates her artificial Christmas tree with over 100 Disney stuffed toys
‘After that, I got an email from Disney, saying they had seen the tree and they loved it. They said they would share it with their staff to spread Christmas cheer. I was so proud and my daughters, Indie, seven, and Poppy, eight, couldn’t believe it.’
Leanne, who separated from her husband three years ago, was tickled pink when a crowd-pulling tree in central London was also decorated with teddies.
The beauty therapist said: ‘In 2015, there was a huge tree covered in teddies in St Pancras station in London.
‘Of course, they weren’t likely to have seen my little tree on the Wirral, but it’s great to think we had the same idea.
Leanne says that her tree gets a mixed reaction but argues she does it to please her two daughters, Indie, seven, and Poppy, eight (pictured with their mum)
The beauty therapist received an email from Disney itself commending her on her efforts
‘And I started doing mine back in 2012, so I definitely did it first, but it was amazing to see it on such a huge scale. I went down to visit to take a picture with it.’
Meanwhile, locally, Leanne’s unusual tree has become something of a Christmas landmark, with friends and neighbours all keen to pop over and see it.
She continued: ‘I adore Disney and so do my kids. It was just something I thought of over the years and it attracts loads of attention.
‘It is a bit like Marmite – people either love it or they hate how untraditional it is. I always get some criticism about how much it cost or how it’s not showing the meaning of Christmas. For me, though, Christmas is about the children and making it magical for them.
She was delighted to see that Kings Cross St Pancras had decorated their tree in a similar style in 2015, three years after she began decorating her tree in such a fashion
The family love Disney and visit either Disneyland Paris or Disney World Florida every year
‘From the first year I did it in 2007 everyone who sees it has been talking about it and every year, more and more people coming to visit it.’
Growing up, Leanne remembers her own mum Tracey, 53, being equally fussy about the family tree – with everything carefully colour coded and tasteful.
She added: ‘When I was little, we had a lovely colour coded tree. It had to be done in a certain way and then I wouldn’t be able to touch it.
‘But I always said that if I had children, I didn’t want a tree that was done to perfection – it would be one where anything could go on it, a mismatch of everything.
‘When I bought my first house, 12 years ago, I only added a few Disney teddies to the tree. I’ve always loved Disney, though, as do my girls, so, over the years, we’ve bought more and more and added them all. I’ve completely lost track of how much all the stuff on the tree is worth.
After twelfth night the stuffed toys are re-purposed with Leanne’s daughters using them to decorate their bedrooms. Pictured: Poppy and Leanne in Disneyland
‘I started planning a Disney bear-themed tree 10 years ago, when I realised our collection was so big there was no room for anything else, really.’
Now a seasoned pro, it only takes Leanne between two and three hours to create her festive masterpiece.
She explained: ‘I have a certain order. I do the tree and the lights in one night. I put all the teddies on the floor, then we group them, depending on who we want to put together – the Frozen characters together, for example.
‘Mickey and Minnie are always right in the middle. I have quite a few of them in different clothes, so I choose the biggest ones for the middle and work around them.
‘It’s just a normal fake Christmas tree underneath and I wrap the branches around the teddies, filling any little spaces with baubles. Every holiday we go on, we get a different decoration to go on there, too, but it’s always got to be multi-coloured to match the theme.
‘The whole tree is really special for us all. It’s full of memories and the kids absolutely love it.’
And, unlike other Christmas decorations, the teddies do not get packed away on Twelfth Night.
Instead, Leanne’s daughters use the toys to decorate their bedroom – hanging them from the ceiling and walls using fishing wire.
‘We’re all huge fans. We’ve been to Disneyworld in California and we go to Disneyland Paris almost every year. It’s lovely that the three of us share an interest,’ added Leanne.
‘It just makes Christmas really magical.’