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Author Topic: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)  (Read 21344 times)

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2013, 08:58:54 PM »
The walmart here "tags" gifts from the wish tree with UV anti-theft markers and write the child's name/engrave it so it's labeled. It won't stop off-market sales (kijiji, ebay etc) but it makes it more difficult for the item to be returned for cash. It sounds terrible, but it's far from unheard of. I buy for the gift tree every year, though ours only lists ages, and I make sure that the gifts I pick meet a couple of criteria : no expensive, difficult to find batteries or other replacement parts, little to no resale value, the ability for solo play, and relative durability and portability. Many children who recieve these gifts are in and out of foster care, so large unwieldy items, or things that rely on others to play with or help them with might be fairly useless. For the younger kids I often get playdough sets with a good volume of replacement playdough, and a small zip up bag to keep the lot in.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.


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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #31 on: September 30, 2013, 09:28:05 AM »
At our church, we have a giving tree. The organization that works with the kids just asks them what they want, I think. They may ask what kind of clothes they need.  But we are told a limit of $35 to spend. We do our best to get as many decent quality items with that $35.


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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2013, 08:34:16 PM »
I have a question, because these "gift trees" are not known in my culture at all.

For those of you in a country where they are common: do the children usually have some sort of guidance by an adult (teacher, monitor, what have you) when they make their wish list?

Here in Australia my experience has been that the shops such as Target, KMart etc, will put tags on the tree that simply say 'Boy 8 years' or 'Female 62 years'.  Whatever you choose to buy/donate is then up to you. Other organisations may list specifics such as 'PlayStation' or 'colouring books and crayons' or whatever, but I have never personally encountered that, so I'm only assuming it can happen.

I usually don't bother getting a tag off the Wishing Tree and will just make up gift bags of items suitable for a particular age/gender and label it as such (Girl 12 years) and leave it at the particular shop. Sometime I have lots of things that don't quite go together for a specific age/gender so I'll leave them unwrapped, place them all in a generic box or bag and then the shop/charity can distribute it as they see fit (bulking up other people's donations or whatever).

Library Dragon

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #33 on: September 30, 2013, 09:30:04 PM »
Our local Department of Human Resources encourages children and teens to give them a list of ANYTHING they want for Christmas, including big ticket items. Years ago it was voted that instead of doing a Christmas party the library staff opted to spend the money sponsoring a child.  That may include a bike, game system, etc.  Because we pool our resources we can do the bigger items.

My church's angel tree tags come from many different organizations, tags are coded for each organization.  Several years ago I was rather harsh with some of the teachers at my parish school.  In the teachers' lounge they were running down the idea that there were tags for teens.  "How dare they ask for these things.  When I was that age I had a job...."

I asked what the code was.  'HP? That's the shelter for mothers and children who have led abusive situations.  These kids had to leave everything behind, are probably living in fear of being found, and you're complaining that they don't have a job?'

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2013, 10:21:21 PM »
We always did the Angel Tree when I was a kid, or some variant thereof. My parents would make sure the kids were around our age and take my brother and me out shopping for it. I think it's a great way to instill a sense of charity. I've always done the Angel Tree since I've been out on my own. The actual Angel Tree has gotten harder to find around me -- they seem to want you to do it all online -- so I've shifted to going through our local Children's Advocacy Center, which helps abused and neglected children. You just request an age and gender, and they'll send you the list just like the Angel Tree. Sizes, wants, and needs. I always enjoy going out and finding things for them. It's one of my only chances to shop for kids these days!


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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #35 on: October 01, 2013, 07:36:18 PM »
If I do this, I choose a tag carefully, to make sure it's something I would be willing to buy.

That said there are always tags left on the tree when the pick up day comes - they are always higher end things like laptops, airbooks, iphones and such.

We have people in mom's church who would not bat an eye at a bike or even an entire wardrobe ( I have seen gift cards to clothes stores like the Gap or American Eagle valued at hundreds of dollars) who would still balk at the gamesystems and computer requests. Not because they don't think poor kids should be wishing for these things, but because they are reluctant to send something that will end up costing the parents more/getting pawned/returned for cash. It's not just the game system the kid needs, it's games, accessories, memory cards, ect.

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #36 on: October 02, 2013, 12:04:12 AM »
To be fair, with some of those programs, they are run through an organization that acts as a go-between, so the needy families may not know specifically where their "wishes" are going to.  We've done this at work for holidays in the past.  Each floor of our office (we occupied 4-5 floors of a building at the time) got a family to sponsor.  Each floor was given a list of things each member of the family wants/needs, and a list of family members (but not names - just age, gender, and clothing sizes).  In a case like that, several people could pitch in and buy the expensive item, and it wouldn't be so big a burden. 

Also, whoever solicits the list from these needy people may be encouraging them to ask for what they really want.  And quite frankly, I don't see anything wrong with that, especially if it's for a kid.  And I know some will disagree, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to let a young child (or anyone, really) be the recipient of some holiday "magic" during difficult times.
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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2013, 02:21:17 PM »
Our local angel tree program is run by the Salvation Army.  Senior citizens are on the tree, too.  I always pick them.  Their wish lists are much more basic:  A bedspread, pots and pans, a jacket. 

I figure that the kids are going to get something because they tug at heartstrings, but it's easy to overlook or dismiss a needy senior. 


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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2013, 04:26:20 PM »
I have a question, because these "gift trees" are not known in my culture at all.

For those of you in a country where they are common: do the children usually have some sort of guidance by an adult (teacher, monitor, what have you) when they make their wish list?

I really think a bit of "steering" (like I mentioned earlier), a bit of guidance, would help to prevent both frustration with the gifters and disappointment on the children's end...

So, how is this "wish writing" usually done?

(And again, I do think children should be allowed to ask for something "fun", just that someone ought to keep an eye on how realistic the price category of what they are asking for is.  Or if they do have a very pricey wish, encourage them to add more wishes to the list - so that they don't end up with nothing or with something they really don't like.)

I know when I was a kid I got Christmas a couple years because of the gift tree. How it worked (and at the time I had no idea, I know now as an adult), I gave my wish list to mom to deliver to "Santa" and then mom took my wish list along with a Glitter needs list and went down to the charity that would help us and gave a list of X amount of items (she'd combine the two). I was just writing my letter to Santa like all the other kids.

We've also done adopt a families in recent years, usually there are fewer specifics and more general what we like, what we need, type things. Gee, Sally loves Barbie and wears size 6x clothing. So maybe Sally gets some Barbies to play with and some new clothes to wear.

So it varies organization to organization.

I don't think it's poor taste for a child to ask for an expensive gift. It's in poor taste for a child to expect to receive said gift and throw a hissy fit if they don't. Especially since a lot of kids don't really understand what something costs. Especially when they grow up with very little. All they know is it's outside of their parents budget. But well, in this case, an Xbox might cost too much but then so does a winter coat or a pair a shoes or even a loaf of bread. So to a kid, those might all cost about the same amount.