Do You Tree What I Tree?

| Right | December 24, 2015

(Every year during the Christmas season our library hosts what we call the “Mitten Tree.” It works a little like the Salvation Army trees: you take a mitten from the tree, on which is written a gift to purchase for a person/family in need, “Toy for eight-year-old boy” or “pajama pants for adult woman size 14,” for example, and then bring the (wrapped) gift back and it goes to the person/family assigned. We put the tree up the week before Thanksgiving because some people like to get their Mitten Tree gifts during Black Friday. The Monday before Thanksgiving, we’re closing up the library for the evening when a couple starts banging on the door.)

Coworker: *opens the sliding doors* “I’m sorry; we’re closed for the night. We open again at 10 am tomorrow.”

Man: “But we wanted to get mittens from the Mitten Tree! Can we just come in and look?”

Coworker: “Um… sure, I don’t think that will be a problem.” *opens the door*

(The couple browsed through the tree while the rest of us went about shutting off computers, checking doors, and otherwise preparing to close. The woman stops my co-worker again.)

Woman: “Is there a limit to how many mittens we can take?”

Coworker: “Nope, you take as many as you’re comfortable with.”

Woman: “Okay, can we just clear the tree, then?”

(I look up from my work to see that, yes, they’ve taken almost every remaining mitten from the tree. Wow! We have generous patrons but I have NEVER seen that much generosity from one couple before. I stuck my head in the library director’s office to let her know what was going on, and she went out to personally thank the couple before they left.)

Me: “That was sweet.”

Coworker: “That was awesome.”

Director: *blinking back tears* “Do they know how to make a grown lady cry or what?”

(Less than two weeks later, the couple returned with their wrapped gifts, sixteen in all. Thank you, you two, for making Christmas wonderful for a family in need this year! You’re an inspiration.)

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