Last year when most people were packing away their ornaments, tinsel and lights, others were just getting started on Christmas trees for this year. As soon as Christmas is over and the new year begins, many people have already designed a Christmas tree, started buying supplies and some even start working on a tree they will never put their gifts under. These trees are not meant to adorn their own houses but are given away selflessly to benefit others.
Each year hundreds of trees are decorated by individuals, families, companies, and church groups then donated to The Festival of Trees. This nonprofit event raises money to benefit Primary Children’s Hospital. After all of the trees are designed and primped, they are auctioned and sold to individuals and businesses.
There are many Morgan residents that join in the spirit of the season by generously getting involved with Festival of Trees.
Jeanne Fry started decorating trees for the festival 7 years ago when her son Matt was on a mission. When Matt was born he had a heart defect. “The doctors there pretty much saved his life,” Fry said of the efforts of those who took care of her son at Primary Children’s Hospital. She was so elated with the results of their efforts she wanted to do something for the hospital. By decorating and donating trees she feels she can “pay them back a little bit.” Now she is “hooked on it”.
She gathered her daughters Kathy, Nikki, and Jodi and they started planning. That first year they wrote letters to every mission president in the world, (around 350 missions) and told them of their quest to decorate a tree in honor of their missionary serving, and asked for an ornament from each area. Overwhelmed with the response, they unpackaged not only ornaments but also other items from about 250 missions around the world.
This is the first year Jodie Bosen and her family have decorated a tree, and they were very satisfied with the event. In the past her husband’s family had a tradition that many families have- they would draw names and exchange gifts with each other. Last year Bosen’s sister-in-law suggested they try something new, giving service. Inspired by a family, they came up with the theme of Angels and family members all contributed to the tree.
They were excited about creating a tree that someone else would really enjoy, and being able to raise money for such a good cause. She also found it a wonderful experience for her children. Her children have so many things, Bosen was grateful for this opportunity to show them the joy of giving.
The Morgan 2nd Ward Activity Day Girls decorated a small 4 foot tree. They intently listened to quotes from President Thomas S. Monson about helping others, and discussed ways they could do that at their young age.
The day they decorated the tree, one of their friends, a boy who rides the bus to school with them daily, didn’t take his usual seat because he was in Primary Children’s Hospital.
It seemed meaningful to them when they realized it was children they cared about that could benefit from the tree they decorated.
Decorating trees is not the only way Morganites contribute. Doris Thurgood has been helping plan and prepare Festival of Trees for 25 years. She has been on the board for the last five years.
Besides endless hours of volunteering her time, she also donates items she has made. She made two quilts with Jeanine Porter, and two centerpieces with Kevin and Nancy Ovard and Errol Robinson.
Thurgood has had so much fun that many friends from Morgan have decided to start the holiday season by volunteering.
The Festival of Trees runs from now till December 3, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. at the South Towne Expo Center. This is a tradition of giving.