Christmas in September

Almost as magical as Santa himself, a cold barren exhibit hall transforms into a warm, festive holiday haven. Each year, the magic of Festival of Trees unfolds, and with it the hope and future of children in need at Primary Children's Medical Center.

The Festival of Trees was inspired 39 years ago by a group of 15 women from along the Wasatch Front. These women were challenged to identify a way to raise funds for the hospital.

That project was inspired after a vacation in Hawaii and a Christmas boutique featuring small, decorated Christmas trees, centerpieces, and Christmas decorations. The Women expanded the concept to include full-sized decorated Christmas trees, a gift boutique, and a sweet shop.
That first year, there were approximately 60 trees for display and sale in the gymnasium of
an old Armory. To everyone's surprise and delight, $47,000 was raised!
Over the years, this beautiful event has blossomed into a forest of more than 800 trees, a gift boutique featuring handmade articles, a sweet shop filled with freshly made candies and baked goods, a display of wreaths and door decorations, centerpieces, gingerbread houses, and backyard playhouses. There is also Santa, activities for children, hot scones and sweet rolls, and continuous live entertainment. In all, the Festival spans over 220,000 square feet of display space. Perhaps the greatest phenomenon of all is that everything is donated. The trees are decorated and purchased by individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and church groups. In addition, others generously donate items to fill the shops. Businesses provide the paper and printing of posters and tickets. Corporations offer their covered trucks and drivers to help deliver the trees, and so much more! Thousands of people join efforts by contributing countless hours and means to give “A Gift of Love" to children in need. In 2008, the Festival raised $1,495,840.74 for children in need at Primary Children's Medical Center.

Over the years, Festival of Trees has been copied many times throughout the United States and Canada. However, the Salt Lake City Festival of Trees remains the "granddaddy" of them all.

Two weeks ago our service group helped contribute to this wonderful event by learning to make (10) these wreaths for the festival this year thanks to the generous help of Kathie, Val and Jay. We had a great time and learned a new skill too. Now we can't wait to actually go to this event to see the other wreaths, trees and other things that will be there for sale!


Marie said...

Jean, it sounds like a wonderful event! Oh how I wish we had things like that over here! I really enjoyed reading about it and seeing all the pictures!

Beth at Aunties said...

I love the festival and have been attending for years with friends and family at the different locations.. One year we did decorated a tree for it. Our little granddaughter has danced for the alst two years there.
The wreathes are so pretty! You all did a great job! This is a great and very wondrful project to be involved in!

Maggie B said...

Hi Jean,
This is just a wonderful thing to do for children in need.
The wreaths that you all made are amazing, I have never seen anything like them before, how I wish I could purchase one like that here in France.
I so enjoyed seeing them all.
a bientot
Maggie @ Normandy Life

Diana said...

Wow, sounds like a wonderful event. Thanks for sharing all these great pics!

Hope to hear from you soon.


Deanna said...

This a wonderful way to raise funds for a hospital.
Fantastic decorations!

Glad I got to see your post today.
God is surely smiling from Heaven at the way you all work together for a great cause.

d from homehaven

Connie Weiss said...

I heard about this last year (I live in North Ogden) and it's on my list of things to do this holiday season.

jenjen said...

Those are great wreaths. Wow! Such a good cause too!


Rhonda said...

The wreaths are beautiful! Such a fabulous idea and cause you are supporting!