In 2012, I came home to my wife Amy, putting up a Christmas Tree. She asked me to go to the basement and bring up a box of decorations. While in the basement, I noticed four other Christmas trees stacked in a corner. For whatever reason, Amy had bought a 5th tree, which she was upstairs putting together! I was pretty upset, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with these four and I wasn’t about to throw them away. I put the word out that I was giving them away. Surprisingly, we found homes for all the trees within hours of posting them on Craigslist.
I remember one of the families in particular. The mother and I managed to get the tree set up just before her three kids arrived home from school. Her oldest son who was 9 yr old freaked out when he walked through their front door. He said “Mom, this is our first tree!” They were so excited it took several minutes for them to calm down. But once they did, they just starred at their new lit tree with disbelief. The look on their mother's face was a familiar one as she watched her three kids stare at their very first Christmas tree with wide eyes. Once she looked at me she could tell I looked a little confused and she felt the need to explain. "We’ve always spent what little we had on clothes, gifts and bills. We've never had a tree but I've always wanted one for the kids." she said.
After leaving their home, I knew I just made that family really happy. It felt pretty good. But as I thought about it more, I couldn’t imagine Christmas without a tree when I was a kid. It wasn't long before I started thinking about how many more kids and families are out there, who were't going to have a Christmas tree to put gifts under and gather around on Christmas morning. How many other kids wouldn't get the chance to smile like those three kids just did.
I had a handicapped older brother named James who passed away on Christmas Eve at the young age of 9. Every year (still to this day) as the holidays approach so does a sadness. Growing up, my parents did a lot to make Christmas a little extra special. I think it was more for them than us (myself and two younger sisters). Every year when the tree went up and decorations were out, it brought a spirit into our home. Sometimes it just took any worries or sadness away, even if it was just for an hour or 5 minutes at a time. To me, Christmas is about being thankful, and having a Christmas tree up was a gently reminder of what to be thankful for.
The following year in 2013, people were donating their gently used Christmas trees to us and we still struggled to fulfill all the requests we received from families who wanted a tree for Christmas. We collected and delivered 19 Christmas trees, complete with lights, bulb ornaments and a tree topper.
We quickly realized this had taken on a life of its own and it was our duty to keep it going. In honor of my brother James, I’ve decided to get Christmas trees to those who need a little help to bring in the spirit and put smiles on children's faces.
If you can help us grow our foundation we would greatly appreciate it. Visit our VOLUNTEER page to learn more about how you can help. Click the DONATE page to help us monetarily or go to GIVE A TREE so we can come pick up your old tree and give it to someone else. Maybe you would like a Christmas Tree visit NEED A TREE and we'll contact you and schedule a delivery.