Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Giving Trees

As you can probably tell from all my holiday decorating posts, I’m a little geeked out this season, which also led me to get our Christmas tree earlier than years past. With our lovely new living room and beautiful big front window I just couldn’t help myself. Plus, I had a bunch of new ornaments from post-holiday sales last year that I was eager to unleash. So we took ourselves down to Culver City to the Christmas tree lot run by the Delancey Street Foundation and snatched up a large and luscious seven footer!

I used to just get a tree from whatever lot was closest to home (formerly Home Depot) but last year we happened upon this new lot, and having heard such great things about the organization I knew I wanted to support them. Delancey Street is a residential self-help organization for former substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit bottom. Started in 1971 with four people in a San Francisco apartment, Delancey Street has served many thousands of residents in five locations throughout the U.S. Residents range from teenagers to senior citizens, and include men and women and all races and ethnicities.

What does all this have to do with Christmas trees?  Well, Delancey isn’t just a home, they teach their residents personal skills: how to break old habits and how to get along with other people. They also teach basic work habits – showing up on time, listening to a boss and getting along with coworkers, and the tree lots are an important training school in the basics of sales and customer service. In addition to Xmas trees and decorating, Delancey street offers catering and moving (I've had many friends use them with great results), among other services. Proceeds from the tree sales go to further their program, and the staff there is nothing but helpful and courteous. What better way to share a little holiday spirit than by helping to fund such an amazing program?! If you haven't picked up your tree yet, see if they have a location near you and make the effort to give your tree dollars to a worthwhile organization.

Oh, and here’s the new tree, all dressed up and smelling delicious!

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