I was going to start this post of with, “I love the Holidays!” but then I thought – well, who doesn’t love the Holidays?!? Some of the things I love most about the Holiday season are family, friends, a break from school, traditions, and giving.
It started about 15 years ago for me. I was a junior high staff leader at a church here in Scottsdale and I decided that my group should adopt some Christmas Angels. We set a day and went to the mall and picked some Angels off the Angel Tree in the center of the mall. We proceeded to shop for our Angels, each contributing what we had in our pockets. The experience was wonderful for many reasons, but the thing that stuck with me most of all was that this was a first-time experience for most of these young impressionable girls.
I continued this Angel Tree tradition – both with youth group students and now with my own kids. Each year we adopt a few kids in need and set out as a family to pick out gifts for each of the kids. We wrap them together and return them to the organization and talk about how excited these kids will be to get something new on Christmas. As a mom, I love that I can teach my kids that in the season of me, me, me – there are other people to think about too. I can only hope that giving back becomes a “tradition” they continue when they have families of their own.
Here are some of the places that I’ve found that participate in the Angel Tree program
1. Local Malls partner with The Salvation Army. You can find a full listing of participating malls here.
2. Walmart has also partnered with The Salvation Army and many stores have Angel Trees at their entrance.
3. Local Churches. Many churches partner and sponsor many schools or even congregation members who are in need.
4. Local Schools. I was surprised to find that many schools offer an Angel Tree program. Stopping in the front office and inquiring is a great way to support your local community.