"O, Christmas Tree!"


Tis the season for - Trees! There’s something so magical about the holiday season, when empty parking lots are transformed into festive forests packed with piney contestants all wanting to be chosen as the most beautiful Christmas  tree in the annual pageant. Normal sidewalks become winter wonderlands, with each tree decorated with lights and ornaments. Palm trees might not be the most festive tree, but once they’re wrapped in lights, they become the distinctly SoCal Christmas pageant contestant.

the grove christmas decorations

These annual symbols of the yuletide serve as a good reminder of how important all trees are to our world. Trees provide ecosystems for animals, wood we need for homes and furniture, and, of course, the air we breathe. During this time of giving, lets give back to the these majestic sentinels that give us so much. And it is so easy to do so; please check out the charities listed below.


An easy way to help the trees of the US and all they do is to make a donation to the National Forest Foundation. For every $1 donated, a tree is planted to restore wildlife habitat across the country. By planting more trees, water quality is improved, wildlife is protected, and climate change is combatted. Their goal is to plant 50 million trees by 2023, and you can make a donation here to the National Forest Foundation.

Unfortunately, living in beautiful, tree-filled California can be dangerous as well. The wildfires that are sweeping through Ventura County, and Sonoma earlier this year, are causing devastation for thousands, including many animals. The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation is accepting donations through its Noah’s Legacy Fund, and The Sonoma Humane Society in Santa Rosa has taken on the task of sheltering stray pets and giving first aid to animals that were harmed by the fire. They worked non-stop in the aftermath of the fires, and now they need help to continue caring for these animals and replenishing their supplies. You can donate to LA County animals at lacountyanimals.orgDonations can be made to Sonoma Humane at this link.


Trees can also be used to build good things, like homes for those who need it most. New Story is a charity that builds homes in areas after a natural disaster or in tent communities around the world. 828 million people live in slums or inadequate housing, which causes their sleep, safety, and health to suffer. Donations can be made in any amount, but if you raise $6,000 you can sponsor a family to build them a home - and you can see a video of them on move-in day. One hundred percent of donations goes to relief, and they hire local workers to build the homes (the donation is also tax-deductible). Make a donation today for New Story at this link.


Just the opposite is true for our fellow Americans in Texas. Those affected by the massive destruction and flooding from Hurricane Harvey need help with housing as well. You can put Houston flood victims in houses through the Houston Coalition for the Homeless. Those who are homeless are most at risk during a natural disaster, and placing them in permanent housing will help save lives during the next hurricane. Help build houses with the Houston Coalition for the Homeless at this link.

I would personally love to hear your thoughts on this list, and which charities you donate to regularly. It is helpful for us all to know more about opportunities to help one another and the world. Please let me know in the comments!

May the holiday season bring your family the peace of the season. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and best wishes for a fabulous 2018!