It was so great being home in Utah for Thanksgiving! But if we could have stayed for just a few more days, then we would have gotten to enjoy an all time favorite family tradition by going to the Festival of Trees. Held in the largest convention center in Salt Lake City in the first few days of December, this is a massive undertaking that all goes to serve the many children being treated at the Primary Children’s Hospital.
Every year hundreds of people donate their time and creativity to creating incredibly decorated trees. Every tree is lovingly decorated and include gifts going along with the theme of the tree. From gifts, memorabilia, sporting tickets, airline tickets, antiques, and more are put with the tree as part of an elaborate scene that someone has created.
Along with trees people have sewn quilts, created festive wreaths, contributed antiques, and built stunning gingerbread houses. Each of these items are auctioned off and local businesses and families will bid on each item. And every single penny that comes in from the auction goes to the Primary Children’s Hospital to provide for children and their families to help with medical costs. It is difficult to really understand the magnitude of this event and what it means for so many families.
There are hundreds of trees at this event. Every size, color, and theme imaginable for Christmas trees can be found here. A lot of the trees will have framed pictures next to them dedicating the tree and the proceeds from it to a family member or friend. Some of the pictures of those who have passed away and their family decorated a tree in their honor. Some of the pictures are of the children who were taken care of in the hospital and now their family wants to be part of returning the favor. Seeing the pictures of those honored by the donations is a humbling and tender moment as you think of the families that were faced with such heart ache and giving with such love.
Local dance groups perform and choirs sing while visitors wander through the hundreds of trees. The delicious smells of baked goods for sale wafts through the air and you don’t even feel bad about getting in line for your third cinnamon roll because you know it is all going to such a good cause. There are crafts for sale that have been lovingly made by people in the community. They even have a children’s craft area where little ones can sit and work on festive projects while they wait for their turn to go and see Santa.
When you see how much time and effort and love someone puts into a tree, and then see how much a business paid for that tree, knowing that everything they make goes to helping children of all ages at the hospital- it is truly humbling. In this season of giving, how beautiful it is to think of all the thousands of children who get the medical help they need because so many are willing to give of their time, their creativity, their talents, and their love to make the Festival of Trees such an experience.