Here’s how our military family got a free Christmas tree during deployment
I didn’t want to celebrate Christmas without a Christmas tree. But this year, I didn’t buy a tree.
It was mainly because my husband was deployed. But also because… our base offered free Christmas trees to hundreds of military families!
We typically buy a large, real tree, then enjoy decorating it and smelling the fresh evergreen scent in the weeks leading up to Christmas. But last year, our family trip to the tree farm was a huge comedy of errors. This year, with my husband gone, I couldn’t think of a good way to get a huge tree on and off the car by myself. I considered buying a fake tree, but gosh, those are expensive!
That’s when I learned about Trees for Troops. This is an organization that started with the concept of sending fresh Christmas trees to deployed troops overseas. Think how much it would improve troop morale to see a fresh American Christmas tree in the center of their dusty overseas base!
Trees for Troops provides free Christmas trees for military families
The Trees for Troops program received such an overwhelming response of support that they are now able to donate thousands of trees every year to military bases across the country. Every year, the first weekend of December is Trees for Troops weekend. Military families wait in line on base to receive a free Christmas tree. These free Christmas trees make a huge difference to military families around the holidays.
If you don’t think a free Christmas tree is a big deal, then you may not know the full spectrum of military families. Sure, many service members (like mine) make enough to support their family and they can afford to buy a Christmas tree each year. But other families, especially younger service members, struggle to get by and live paycheck-to-paycheck.
It broke my heart to see wives posting on our local Facebook page that they wouldn’t get a tree this year because they had no money to spend on ornaments. But I was also overjoyed to see the outpouring of local support from families offering to give them ornaments and decorations to brighten their Christmas. The military community takes care of its own, but we all get by with a little support from local organizations and national non-profits.
Trees for Troops is a program of the Christmas Spirit Foundation. They partner local farmers and tree farms with shipping assistance from Fed Ex. If you want to find free trees on your base, contact the family readiness group (FRG) or the base Family Center for more details. If you want to get involved or make a donation, visit the Trees for Troops website for more details. They take donations year-round to help send trees to the troops deployed overseas. So if your family has benefited from their program, please consider paying it forward to deployed troops.
“If you have benefited from Trees for Troops, consider paying it forward with a donation to help troops overseas.” ~The Seasoned Spouse
The trees from Trees for Troops are all fresh-cut real Christmas trees. They average five feet tall, which may be smaller than other trees you are used to. However, if you are responsible for taking it off the car and setting it up by yourself because your spouse is away training, then you will be grateful it isn’t any heavier! Thankfully, the volunteers at the tree pickup will help you lift the tree and secure it to your vehicle. Our tree wasn’t perfect, but once I turned it to show the best side, it looks great! I was very grateful for this program which helped brighten our holidays.
Free Christmas trees are just one of many unique resources that are available to military families around the holidays. Some bases receive more local support than others, but you can learn about amazing free programs that support military families here. My children have received free gifts, bikes, art supplies, and more through generous donations from local churches and non-profits. I made a Facebook Live video highlighting these resources.