This weekend a number of events will take place that, while scheduled separately, all have a tie-in. The North Fork Scouts will kick-off their annual tree sale Saturday and once again many of us will trek over to the center of California, walk behind the library building and find a group of eager scouts standing there prepared, as good scouts should be, to help us find that perfect tree for our holiday season.
The Germans popularized the concept of decorating trees in our homes and now the tradition is as American as apple pie. When you buy one of the Boy Scout Trees, you are getting a great deal. They sell for $2.75 per foot for a tree that was cut in this area by the scouts and their leaders in the past couple of weeks.
Many still had snow on them two weeks ago.
The better part of the deal is that you are dealing with one of the future leaders of our world and what better training than to have those scouts pay their own way by doing it the old fashioned way; earning it. Those scouts will take the lessons that the scout leaders are teaching them and will use those skills the rest of their lives. The money you pay for the tree covers troop expenses and summer camp fees. So join the rest of us as we trek over and buy a tree from an 11-year-old. Twenty years from now, that scout just may be one of the next generation of movers-and-shakers.
After getting your tree, you need to find those perfect gifts for your family and circle of friends. You may even need an item or two for yourself so you find your way to one of the local churches. Many of the church ladies groups have been working all year just to sell you those wonderful hand-made items. I noticed that the ladies of the Catholic Church started a couple of weeks ago but I'm sure they are still selling their See's candy to those of us that enjoy that "happy habit."
One group of ladies that will welcome you are from Christ Church, Anglican. Their "Martha's Market" has grown so popular they had to move the sale out of the church and take over the entire downstairs of the Evergreen Conference Center (ECCO). They not only have hundreds of hand-crafted items that they have knitted, sewn, or painted, but they have some delightful woodwork items that have been created just for this event. Birdhouses, candle holders, tongs, manger scenes, are just some of the items available. Lunch is also available so after shopping and tree selection, it's nice to have a place to munch and look at the treasures you have found. The proceeds from all these boutiques at the different churches go to support local charities in our area.
Finally, you can shop around the local area and buy one or two new toys for a child you won't ever meet. Those wonderful Marine Corps Reservists are conducting their annual Toy's for Tots campaign. Santa has come to rely on those Marines to have toys handy for some good little boys and girls in our area, who through tough circumstances would not have a gift to open on Christmas day.
Back in 1947, the Marine Reservists in Los Angeles heard that Santa was in need and they jumped in to help. Marines since then figured it was a good idea and have been helping out Saint Nick ever since. All the toys collected in this area stay in this area. That is the rule and the Leathernecks follow orders. Drop off an unwrapped new toy or two in one of the boxes at the local stores.
The Marines of the Griswald Detachment will sort them, wrap them, and deliver them. I love the thought of a bunch of burly Marines wrapping toys in a warehouse. Think of them as elves who don't say, "Ho, Ho, Ho!" but "Hoo-rah."
So there's your Saturday all tied together around Christmas. You need a tree to serve as a focal point for the exchange of gifts for those folks in your life. You help a scout along the way.
You need some items that are one-of-a-kind for those one-of-a-kind folks you know. You help those churches support local charities along the way. You help a group of Marines help some kids along the way with a gift that comes from you isn't this the true spirit of Christmas?
Trees, treats, and tot's coming together. What a way to begin to prepare for Christmas.