Give away a Christmas tree? Why would anyone do that? When I first came to Albuquerque, NM in 1991 as a classroom teacher, I started a tradition in my classroom. Each year, I put up a Christmas tree, then gave it away to one of my students before our Christmas vacation. Early in December, I’d have them put their names in a hat, and we’d draw the lucky winner. I taught in a low-income school and many of my students’ families struggled with the basics. A Christmas tree was a luxury and a fresh cut one was a novelty.
In 1991 and throughout the time I taught, we had no problem putting up a Christmas tree in our classrooms and I dressed in my Christmas outfits, starting the first Monday after Advent. Today, I know that teachers can’t do this, which is really sad for me!
I will never forget that first year of seeing the lucky student whose name I drew. He was the winner! Several students helped me un-decorate the tree, and he convinced friends to help him carry the tree home. As I looked out the window, the smiles and excitement that the group exhibited warmed my heart. After that first year, I knew I had found a grand tradition to continue!
How did I come about having an extra tree each year to giveaway?
My parents had a family ranch in southeastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico. Growing up, we went out to the ranch and cut our own tree each year. What memories I have! My dad always wanted a tall one; Mom wanted one that sit on the coffee table! So, during the year, Mom and I scouted out where the “good” Christmas trees were. Then my parents filled the actual trip with lots of good-hearted bantering, but Dad won—always!
So when I moved to Albuquerque, I went home for Thanksgiving. During that weekend, we went out to the ranch and cut down two trees—one for my home and one for my classroom.
I loved those trips out to our ranch, cutting down a fresh tree. Dad, Mom and I made a great excursion out of it. On previous trips out there, we had already decided where the best pinon pine trees were. Dad started the sawing, but because of his breathing issues and his age, I usually helped. And yes, we always got sap on our hands—what a delicious smell, but sticky mess!
I felt privileged to giveaway a Christmas tree to one of my students. What a rewarding experience it was!
Is a Christmas tree giveaway something special? I thought it was, especially after seeing my students’ smiles. Have you ever given a Christmas tree away? If so, what was the effect?
News, News, News!
~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A
~My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? WON the 2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the Body, Mind & Spirit Category. Have you bought your copy yet? Vist my website: laradasbooks.com