Editor’s note: I wanted to include a post about live Christmas trees in this series, but we use the same artificial tree year after year, so I’m excited to welcome Amanda of OhAmanda.com and Impress Your Kids — a Life Your Way contributor and my friend — to share her family’s tradition with you!
The first five years my husband and I were married, we used a mini-Christmas tree as the central Christmas decoration in our home. After we were finally settled and had our first house, we bought a real tree in the parking lot of Home Depot. It was the only other thing in our brand new living room beside our couch and TV, and I loved it! I never wanted to take it down.
Real trees make Christmas seem more magical to me. The beautiful green, the complete oddity of having a tree in your house and, oh, the fragrance! Now that our kids are old enough to appreciate traditions we make our Christmas-tree-buying a special event. We don coats and hats, stop at Starbucks for a Peppermint Hot Chocolate, and head out to search for our tree.
However, a few years ago, my frugality and first-world conscience spoke up and I started feeling guilty for spending almost $75 on a dead tree to put in our house for a few weeks and then throw in the trash!
Then I heard about a tree lot in town run by a local church. Their men’s small groups spend a full weekend every November in Boone, NC cutting down Christmas trees. They haul them back, set up a lot on their church’s property (complete with a fire pit and Christmas music), and spent the next 4-5 weekends sitting outside selling trees to passers-by.
And what do they do with all that money they make from their lumber-jack stint?
They donate every single penny to local organizations that rescue, rehabilitate, and love on children who have been a part of sex-trafficking. (Did you know Atlanta is one of the central hubs in the United States for child sex-trafficking?!)
And suddenly my money spent on a Christmas tree seemed like the best gift I could give! I got so excited about their whole mission, I did daily Facebook updates encouraging my local friends to buy their Christmas tree from this church. When we finally visited the lot and bought our own tree, I uploaded pictures and begged my friends to stop by. I wanted the world to know about these men, these trees and the money they were raising to rescue kids.
While we were picking out our tree, I stopped and talked to the men who were there. And when I heard them talk with passion about what they were doing and why, how they take turns all December long to sit outside and sell trees, I was so impressed. In one of the busiest seasons, these men were making themselves nothing to raise money for children who had been forgotten.
As we bought our tree (yes, it was a little more expensive than the one we bought at Home Depot our first Christmas), I had tears in my eyes explaining to my children that the money we spent on our tree would go to kids that needed help. And all during December as I looked at our tree, I thought of those men and prayed for the children they helped rescue.
You may not be in Atlanta (but if you are, you must buy your tree from the Men’s Group at Northbrook UMC!), but Google “Christmas tree lots for charity” or “Christmas trees that benefit” and find an organization doing something similar in your community. If you can’t find one, maybe you could start one. Maybe you could take a dead tree and turn it into a new life!
Join us as we celebrate 101 Days of Christmas with new DIY projects, gift ideas, traditions, and more every day from now through Christmas!
|Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at OhAmanda.com and Impress Your Kids. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!|