It won’t be long until Christmas decorations start popping up in department stores again, but for some families this just becomes a reminder of what they can’t have.
When Glenmore Park resident Whitney Keir was putting up her old tree last year, she decided it was time to get a new one.
In the following week a huge storm hit, which was the lightbulb moment for her new charity, Tree Angels.
“I just looked at my husband and thought wow we are so lucky to be inside and dry and it made me think about how many people are out there with nothing and how hard that must be, especially at Christmas time,” she said.
“It must be so hard for them and their kids to go to the shops and see all of the toys and decorations everywhere so I thought what can we do and that’s how it was all born.”
Putting out calls on Facebook, Ms Keir collects and sorts donated Christmas decorations to be distributed to struggling families.
Each themed kit includes a tree, decorations, tinsel, a star or angel, garden signs and even Christmas themed crockery.So far she has managed to make up four packs but hopes there’s more to come as Christmas approaches this year.
“Some of my best memories as a kid are putting the tree up and arguing over who puts up what decoration with my brother, it’s a real family bonding opportunity,” Ms Keir said.
“Sometimes parents have a little money saved up to buy a gift, but to have a tree to wrap it up and put it under just makes the whole experience better.”
Whilst Tree Angels’ purpose is to spread the Christmas spirit to the less fortunate, it also focuses on preventing decorations from going into landfill.
“I just thought it could also keep a lot of the stuff out of rubbish bins, when you’ve got old stuff you don’t want anymore, you can’t sell it and it just ends up in the bin,” Ms Keir said.
Ms Keir encourages locals to consider having a clean-out and gifting their old decorations to a new home, giving a special gift this Christmas.
All made up kits will be distributed to families through local crisis services.
For more information or to donate, message the Tree Angels Facebook Group at https://bit.ly/300fc3G.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.