Lions Corner: Tree of Giving a chance to fill in for Santa

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - 09:15

As the frosty crisp air has begun to tingle our noses, the children rush through the park filled with anticipation for a bright Christmas. The bright lights that encircle the large pine tree in Town Square are turned on indicating it is the time to be joyous in the Winter Wonderland of Chugiak-Eagle River.

Families and friends gather together in Town Square for the annual Winter Wonderland Walk. The celebration begins with young carolers from our 7 elementary schools singing those Christmas classics. This favorite is closely followed by the tree twinkling with brightly colored lights and that jolly old elf, Santa and his reindeer dash in, greeting all of the children as they squeal with excitement.

This is the time for community, family, friends, and the spirit of Christmas.

Local children will beam with Christmas innocence trusting that Santa received their letters and hoping their wishes will be fulfilled. Unfortunately, for many, the reality of Christmas is not a priority due to the bills that need to be paid, such as electric, heat or food, instead of purchasing gifts for their children.

If Santa falters this year, the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions Tree of Giving will be there.

The annual Tree of Giving is a community event beginning with the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Wonderland Walk event at Town Square, Friday, December 4, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The chill in the air will be suppressed by the offerings of hot chocolate, coffee, cookies and other food items from the array of vendors.

The Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions Tree of Giving project will take many hours to prepare. Approximately 178 children and 87 families residing in the Eagle River-Chugiak area received assistance in 2014. The Tree of Giving is more than a project; we believe it is truly a miracle as presents, giftwrap, cards, toys, are gathered throughout the year.

 As Thanksgiving nears, a bustle of activity begins with groups of Lions and Leos working together to prepare the cards for the Trees. Names of children are obtained from the Municipality of Anchorage and local Elementary Schools as they hope the magic of Christmas can stay for just one more year. 

Once the wishes are heard, they are placed on the cards and hung on the trees at local businesses with the hopes of giving community members will open their hearts and fulfill a wish or two during the holiday season. The children will open their eyes on Christmas morning with awe and wonderment holding on to the happiness that you provided them this year.

Please look for Lions at Town Square and drop off your unwrapped gift or monetary donation to the Lions. Keep the spirit alive this holiday season and become part of making wishes come true for these special families in need.

A warm heart-filled “Thank You” to everyone in our community for coming together to help their neighbors and share the blessings of the holiday season.

If you would like more information about being a Lion, go to Or contact Mary Pederson our membership chair at 862-3593, or visit our website at the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lion’s Club at or

If you know of any teens that would like to join the Bear Mountain Leos, we meet every Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Eagle River Boys & Girls Club.

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