It won’t be long before campaigns to help the less fortunate start appearing between psychotic shouts of “I saw that first!” at the local department store. Unfortunately, the number of needy people in our community grows every year and people today are aware of this need but many experience “donor fatigue” not long into the holiday season. Here is a suggestion that will help bring your staff together and have fun while helping the less fortunate. An Angel Tree!
An Angel Tree is very simple. You find a worthwhile charity to support and place a Christmas/Holiday tree in a heavy traffic area such as the front lobby of your office or at the entrance to the cafeteria in your building. The tree is decorated with lights, bulbs and with special paper angels. Each of these paper angels has either boy, girl, man or woman written on the back along with an age range such as 6 – 8 years or 30 – 40 years.
People take one and buy a gift that matches the sex and age on that angel. Many organizers ask for a minimum dollar value and set a maximum for each gift. The purchased gift is then wrapped with the angel taped to it and given to the Angel Tree organizer. The gifts are donated anonymously. A wrapped box is then placed underneath the tree to symbolize that a gift was purchased. For obvious reasons, the actual gifts should not be left under the tree.
A template with two angels can be downloaded by selecting the image below. Simply open the file, print on different colors of paper and cut along the lines. Punch a hole at the top and use string or yarn to hang on the tree.
The charity selected will ideally have an event scheduled close to Christmas where they will distribute the gifts collected so a deadline date is needed to provide the charity with enough time to sort the gifts. The popular choice of charities usually involves kids but there are also charities that help homeless men and women or even food banks can benefit. Find a charity and speak to them about how the gifts will be distributed before you start the Angel Tree.
It is also important to set up the Angel Tree very soon. Many people start shopping for gifts right after Thanksgiving so you may find that people will be more enthusiastic about it before the craziness of the holidays reaches its peak.
It’s also important to promote the Angel Tree to everyone in the building. Circulate an email, post signs around the office and send reminders out the closer you get to the deadline. You can also invite suppliers and customers to participate as well.
At the deadline, have a party and announce how many gifts were given. Make it a fun event with an ugliest Christmas sweater competition, a holiday bake sale or even a 50/50 draw. Offer non-alcoholic punch and cookies. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just a fun way to say thank you to everyone who participated.
The Angel Tree is a simple idea that will make you and the people who receive these gifts a little happier during the holidays.
Please feel free to share this article with your friends and family and encourage them to do the same at their office.
After the holidays, let us know how you did at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put a little plug for you on our Facebook pages.