ARVADA, Colo. — For some families, a Christmas tree and decorations are just too big of an expense.
So for the second year in a row, Echter's Nursery and Garden Center in Arvada is hosting a big giveaway this week.
Monday, Dec. 23, the business will be giving away free Christmas trees to families in need.
“I know for me and most people, we grow up and every year you get a Christmas tree and decorate it and spend time with your family and it's one of those things that’s close to your heart,” said Julie Echter, part of the family who owns the garden center. “But there [are] a lot of people out there that don’t get that experience, and so to provide that for people who can’t afford it, it’s just a really special thing.”
The idea started in 2018 when Echter's ordered more trees than the shop could sell.
“We were talking about what we were going to do with all of them and, basically, they were all going to get composted,” Echter said. “I couldn’t really bear the idea of just throwing away all these gorgeous Christmas trees that took 10 years to grow, so we came up with the idea to give them away to families in need.”
She didn’t expect the idea would be so popular. Last year, more than 80 trees went home with families on Christmas Eve.
“We had families that came in that had kids that had never had a Christmas tree their entire life,” she said. “We had people come in and cry and tell us what their Christmas was like and how much of a difference this made to them.”
With that in mind, this year the Echters decided to do the giveaway again – this time, ordering extra trees on purpose. And they expanded the giveaway to also include decorations: ornaments, lights, and tree stands, either donated by paying customers or made by staff members.
“It’s [all] going to be free,” Echter said. “They can pick whatever they want. We’ll take it out of the stand, do a fresh cut for them, they can pick out the ornaments and their stand and we’ll load it all up for them.”
Echter’s is open Monday, Dec. 23 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. If they still have trees available to donate on Tuesday, Dec.24, they will continue the giveaway. Christmas Eve hours run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
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