As I talked with my counselors, we decided that maybe it would be better to give money to the families so that they could get what their family needed, and wanted. After getting the okay from the Bishop, we asked Ward members to donate money instead of gifts. We clipped donation envelopes on to the branches of the tree, and asked them to write their donation on the "other" line, and write in "Christmas".
By birth order I am, by nature, a risk taker. I don't believe in doing something just because it's tradition, and will take a risk to break tradition if needed. I'm pretty pragmatic, and will go with whatever is most efficient. But doing the "Giving Tree" this way was a big risk. Some people made the comment that it took away the personalization of the gift giving. Instead of knowing that they were buying for a specific age of child, they were now just giving money to an undisclosed recipient. They were worried that without the emotional connection, people wouldn't give as much. I made the point that even though it made it less personal for us, the givers, it makes it more personal for the families who can choose what they will give each other. But for the past few weeks, I've been very nervous, wondering if people would give as much while not knowing anything about the recipients.
Tonight I was sitting near the clerk's office and overheard the Bishop make a comment to the financial clerk about the Christmas fund. I scurried over to the room and asked if we had gotten any money. They did a little figuring, then came back to me with the total. I was VERY pleased with the amount! But I'm not going to lie, I was also RELIEVED! lol This was a big risk, but it looks like it's going to pay off. I'm happy that we can help some of these needy families, and I'm happy that everyone has such a giving heart.