Christmas tree auction becomes community tradition


Kalyn Hayslett

Mother and daughter decorate a christmas tree for the Charleston Carnegie Public Library silent auction.

Kalyn Hayslett, Verge Editor

The holidays, for some, is a time full of traditions with the hopes of bringing cheer and close ones together.

Charleston Carneige Public Library has created their own holiday tradition for community members to decorate Christmas trees and wreaths for the 15th annual silent auction.

The public library purchases about ten miniature to 4-foot Christmas trees for community members and staff members to pick up and decorate at their own time.

“A couple of families been doing this since children were little and still do it even when children are in college and has become an annual tradition,” Beth Lugar

Youth Services Manager said.

The Willenborg family participated in the Christmas tree auction this year for the first time and plan on continuing this.

“A family made all ornaments recycled materials which took a long time but it gave the family good family time and a cute tree for us,” Lugar said.

The Christmas tree the Willenborg family’s decorated theme was “Earth friendly” using as much recyclable materials as they can including: old homework, tissue paper rolls, egg cartons and pipe cleaners.

The tree is wrapped with garland beads made of colorful homework assignments, Santa, penguin, reindeer ornaments shaped from tissue paper rolls and prayers decorated from egg cartons.

“I say go for it, it is a fun family experience,” Mandy Willenborg mother said, “I didn’t want to buy a lot of items so we donated our time which we see it’s worth it.”

Wreaths have recently been added to the decoration selection and this year all of the wreaths for bidding have all been donated.

Any one can participate in decorating Christmas trees and wreaths patrons simply have to sign-up in the library however it first come-first serve.

“Some community members donate their own tree and wreaths which is exciting because it shear profit,” Lugar said.

Any one that is 18 years or older can bid on the decorated Christmas trees with a $15 minimum open bid with $ 1 bid increments until 4 p.m. Saturday, December 5th.

In order to bid on a Christmas tree patrons need to put their name and phone number on the bid sheets located in the Kidsplace area of the library.

There is a bid sheet for each tree and wreath including a description of the tree’s theme and the patrons that decorated them.

“This fundraiser is not target specific and once we have all of are fundraising we build our programs after that,” Lugar said.

The money raised from the auction supports the programs the library host including the make and take program, craft supplies, and the biggest event in the kids department is the summer reading event.

Most members that participate create their own theme when decorating which they come up with on their own.

The library does not give any stipulation of the themes and allow the participants to exercise creative control.

“It’s a small town you would think the themes would overlap but the creativity is distinctly their own,” Lugar said. “I am always amazed how different they all are.”

This year there are 16 Christmas trees for auctions and four wreaths.

Some of the themes include a tree inspired by the White Witch from the movie Narnia, a tree with cheetah print bows, gold ribbon and brown garland, beach theme with a sand castle as the tree topper and a noel tree decorated with non-breakable presents for nursing home environments.

“It’s entirely up to their own creativity, their vision and budget,” Lugar said. “Its always a pleasant surprise to get the trees back.”

Once all of the trees have been decorated and brought back the trees are numbered and put on display lining the hallway shelves.

While community member scan the bookshelves they can scan all of the trees and wreaths for bidding.

“It makes us the library feel really loved that they donate so much creativity and time,” Lugar said.

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].