Tree of Giving is a chance to fill in for Santa

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 13:21
  • (Photo by Dana M Thorp Patterson)

As the frosty crisp air has begun to tingle our noses, the children rush through the park filled with anticipation for a bright Christmas.

The bright lights that encircle the large pine tree in Town Square are turned on indicating it is the time to be joyous in the Winter Wonderland of Chugiak-Eagle River.

Families and friends gathered together in Town Square for the annual Winter Wonderland Walk. The celebration began with young carolers from our elementary schools singing those Christmas classics.

This favorite is closely followed by the tree twinkling with brightly colored lights and that jolly old elf, Santa and his reindeer dash in, greeting all of the children as they squeal with excitement.

This is the time for community, family, friends, and the spirit of Christmas.

Local children will beam with Christmas innocence trusting that Santa received their letters and hoping their wishes will be fulfilled. Unfortunately, for many, the reality of Christmas is not a priority due to the bills that need to be paid, such as electric, heat or food, instead of purchasing gifts for their children.

If Santa falters this year, the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions Tree of Giving will be there. Where there is a need, there is a LION. 

The annual Tree of Giving is a community event beginning with the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Wonderland Walk event at Town Square. The chill in the air will be suppressed by the offerings of hot chocolate, coffee, cookies and other food items from the array of vendors.

The Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions Tree of Giving project takes many hours to prepare. Approximately 178 children and 87 families residing in the Eagle River-Chugiak area received assistance in 2015.

The Tree of Giving is more than a project; we believe it is truly a miracle as presents, giftwrap, cards, toys, are gathered throughout the year.

 The bustle of activity begins with groups of Lions and Leos working together to prepare the cards for the Trees. Names of children are obtained from the Municipality of Anchorage and local elementary schools as they hope the magic of Christmas can stay for just one more year.

Once the wishes are heard, they are placed on the cards and hung on the trees at local businesses with the hopes of giving community members will open their hearts and fulfill a wish, or two during the holiday season.

The children will open their eyes on Christmas morning with awe and wonderment holding on to the happiness that you provided them this year.

 Keep the spirit alive this holiday season and become part of making wishes come true for these special families in need. A warm heart-filled “Thank You” to everyone in our community for coming together to help their neighbors and share the blessings of the holiday season.

Chugiak Lions and Eagle River Lions will be handing out 50 food baskets each to needy families as the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions hand out the Christmas gifts. The effort is also helped by our youth, The Bear Mountain Leos.

We appreciate all the community does to make it a better place to live.

Please join us for our Community Christmas dinner on the 25th from 12-2 p.m. Preparation begins on the 24th at 6 p.m. and cleaning up at 2 p.m. on the 25th. We need all the help we can get. It is a feast to come join us and be with your friends and family.

If you would like more information about being a Lion, go to, or visit our website at the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lion’s Club at or

Call me if you need answers or have questions. 242-1129.

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