Decorated Christmas Trees

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Working as a social worker is my career choice and I envisioned myself helping people improve their lives. Supporting providers which offers services for people in need, over the years I find deep satisfaction to know that my efforts were fruitful in assisting people provide a better life for themselves and their families. 

When I first began in county social work, my idealism was shattered when confronted with some of the responses we got from people we wanted to help particularly during the holiday season. Yearly there are many wonderful groups, companies, retailers and individuals who give unsparingly to the government agency during this period. Good quality items for family gifts were collected: there were full turkey dinners, electronic gadgets as well as decorated Christmas trees.

On that particular year, a retailer had donated five gorgeously decorated Christmas trees all trimmed with ornaments and lights in various themes. One of them had a Victorian theme, the other was garbed with a nature theme decor and one was in gaily traditional bulb ornaments. The decorated Christmas trees were on display at the store and the retailer wanted needy families to have them. To pick up the tree, those who would like to have these decorated Christmas trees should come on the day before Christmas Eve after 4 o’ clock.

Since it was a last minute donation, we decided to notify clients who live close to the retailer’s shop and had the means to transport the tree. One new foster home had a group of four siblings placed in their care recently before Christmas. The foster family was interested in having one of the decorated Christmas trees because the home was in the middle of renovations and all their things including their holiday decorations were all packed up.  

So they agreed to collect the tree. To my surprise, they only had complaints instead of appreciating the decorated Christmas tree ready for them to set up in their house. They compared the decorations with what were packed away and the tree was not normally the usual size they always have. It was not just decorated Christmas trees. Many other clients would whine that they’d rather have ham and not a turkey dinner or some such complaints that really disillusioned me.

Here we are with really great items to give away, yet people are not satisfied. This happens all the time and not just that first year. When the holidays come, I hope not to face up to people who refuse to take an adventurous step towards change or are stuck to their mindset. Perhaps the next time there are lovely decorated Christmas trees dressed up in tinsel, glitter and sparkling bright lights, I should tell people to think of those who have nothing and be thankful you have a beautiful one for free!


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