Festival of Trees

On day three at my new job, my boss told me that I was on the tree committee. This meant that I was involved with the planning, organizing, and execution of a Christmas tree for a fundraiser a local boys and girls club does every year. Organizations and businesses donate a tree and decorate it and buy gifts for the tree, and people can walk around and put raffle tickets in a box in front of each tree to try to win the tree.

I was recruited because of my past work as an undergrad creating the display cases around the campus center on a monthly basis. My secret was that I looked up teacher bulletin boards on Pinterest and adapted them to fit college students. Most of the boards highlighted upcoming events on campus, since I worked in the student activities office.

My boss had me come up with some theme ideas, and one of them was chosen for our tree: No Two Students are Alike. Everything would be snowflake related, because no two snowflakes are alike. We worked within our budget to get a pre-lit tree, ornaments, and some gifts for under the tree.

I offered to put my arts and crafts skills to use and create a snowflake tree topper out of popsicle sticks. It took me an hour last Sunday afternoon to create it; I should have farmed it out to an engineer because it seemed harder than it looked. Or maybe it was just me.

(It was later spray painted white.)

To go along with the theme, we ordered wooden snowflake ornaments and set up a table in the dining commons last week to have students decorate the snowflakes. We got about 30—including students and coworkers from my department—and it added a unique feature to the tree.

I decorated one beforehand, so we’d have an example on the table. And we wanted to make sure the markers didn’t bleed on the wood.

My boss, the assistant VP, and one of our student workers went down yesterday afternoon to set up the tree. It’s in downtown of the city where the university is located, and the trees are set up in the convention center—where the city’s AHL team plays as well as one of the local college’s DI hockey team (and where I had my formal senior year). It’s right next to the new casino that opened in August. I haven’t been yet, mostly because I wanted to wait for the hype to go down. At some point I’ll make my way there; I won’t really gamble though, they do have some really good restaurants there.

(What was funny, though, was that the D1 hockey team was playing the Air Force that afternoon, and we could hear the goal horns going off. It really didn’t bother us much, but there was a quilt show going on in the ballroom next to us, so the horns were probably cramping their style.)

We grabbed lunch before heading over to set up the tree, which took about an hour. It went smoothly, but I dropped the ball on not getting garland or beads to hang on the tree.

The tree will be set up for about three weeks, and people can go in starting on Monday to look at the trees. At the end of the event’s running, they pull raffle tickets, and people can bring home the trees.

This was the university’s 15th year doing this, so I think we get a plaque as a 15 year sponsor, which is pretty cool. It’s nice to give back to the community, and it’s a good way to get our name out there. I’m looking forward to next year’s tree. The university is celebrating its centennial next year, so maybe we’ll do a 100 year theme or something like that. 

Are you involved with local organizations in your community? Do you give back during the holiday season?


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