Trees for Troops is an organization that got off the ground three years ago. This year AmEx is assisting. Contrary to the name, most of the trees are not going to the troops, but to their families, who have very little money to pay for fresh trees.
The growers are donating much of their expense, and Amex as well. Here's the thing--they need you-or someone like you--to buy a tree or two. You can do this on-line this weekend or get a list of places you can go by to make a donation.
This is no big, huge mega organization. Three years ago they distributed 4,700 trees. This year they plan to distribute 17,000 to 20,000 trees. In Texas, most of the trees will go to families at Fort Hood or Lackand.
What does a tree mean to someone? I don't know. I only know as an adult, my sons and I went out one holiday year to pick out the tree and here was this white pine. The tree of my childhood. And very pretty. My dad liked them because he said the branches were far enough apart to really see the individual ornaments. Oh, but that tree was so much more than pretty. It was a whole childhood. Both my parents were gone. I had an uncle who sent us $150 each year. He didn't know it, but his annual gift paid for the tree, the food, and any gifts I could eke out (one was always a paperback book.) But that tree. It was twice the price of the regular trees. I looked and looked at that tree, but I couldn't justify paying for that tree. So I started to turn around to leave when my older son grabbed my arm. "Mom," he said, "get it Let that be your gift to yourself this Christmas."
And so I did. And it WAS my Christmas gift. It spread our home with the scent of balsom, sparkled beautifully, shimmered as I played Christmas carols and listened to my children laugh. A tree can be mighty special.
I can't remember most of the Chrismas presents I've gotten in my life, but I'll never forget that tree.
So this weekend, consider a donation to Trees for Troops. You might just put in a little magic for some kids missing their parents at Christmas.