The Caring Christmas Tree

The story of how our Christmas tree was grown with care and thought for others by one of our dedicated volunteers

It’s that time in January when we take down the Christmas tree and pack away the decorations. This year at our Caring at Christmas project at the Trinity Centre, the Christmas tree took on a special significance, reminding us of the care and dedication that our volunteers express.

Gavin has been volunteering with the project for over a decade, this time as a Kitchen Team Leader. His role helped to keep the massive catering operation running smoothly and ensured our guests were well served with delicious meals. In 2015 he planted a woodland six miles outside of Bristol. “Between the woodland trees I planted a few Christmas Tree seedlings,” he told us, “They’re nurse trees, filling in space between the woodland trees until they grow bigger, protecting them from the wind.” These trees have now done their job now that the woodland trees are established, but one was too close to a Scots Pine. Gavin had something in mind…

A few weeks before Christmas, he contacted Caring in Bristol to find out if the tree was needed, and it was soon on its way. The three metres high tree was cut and taken to the Trinity centre. Gavin said, “I put it on my roof rack, brought it to Trinity, sprayed it with a flame retardant in the Trinity carpark and brought it in. Within an hour volunteers had added lights and decorations.“

Our volunteer attaching the tree that he grew to the roof rack of his car
Gavin and the tree – ready to go!
Our volunteer ensures the tree is made safe with flame retardant treatment
Gavin getting the tree ready to take inside for our guests
Volunteers adding decorations and lights to the Christmas tree now in situ.
Volunteers on hand to decorate the tree for our guests

“I don’t use pesticides so this tree is 100% organic and locally grown, with very few tree miles,” Gavin explained, “There are more Christmas trees still growing so I hope I can do the same next year.“

Caring at Christmas is powered by the generosity of volunteers like Gavin who give their time (and Christmas trees!) to ensure that people experiencing homelessness receive the warmth and light of caring that they deserve – an experience that is not possible to have without a home. The project has completed its work for another year, but we can’t forget why it is needed. Caring in Bristol’s other projects continue to work every week of the year to push back against the threat of homelessness. These too depend on the generosity of our volunteers and donors who enable us to turn their time and donations into actions that stop homelessness in its tracks.

Caring in Bristol and its projects teams have a busy year ahead working throughout the city, and furthering our mission to create a city empowered to solve homelessness. If you would like to join others who also want to make this a reality, please consider making a gift to support our work. It’s quick, safe and easy to donate here.

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