In the spirit of Christmas in July, the Haddonfield Rotary Club has opened submissions for its second annual holiday tree exhibition. Residents and organizations can volunteer to decorate and donate a themed holiday tree that will be displayed in the library from Nov. 13 to Nov. 27.
“We planned it so late in the year,” said Allison Super, director of fundraising for the Haddonfield Rotary Club. “We got the idea and just decided to run with it without much time to really execute it, so this year we’re hoping it’ll be bigger and better.”
This year, the library has agreed to allow for up to 20 trees to be on display—eight more than was permitted last year. Submissions will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Participants will have from now until November to design and create their themed-trees. The trees will be set up in the Haddonfield Public Library between Nov. 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to noon.
The trees must be artificial, but they can be full-size or miniature. They cannot have any open flames or open/edible food hanging from them. Themes are chosen by the participants, and past themes have included origami, baby’s first Christmas, pets and a peacock-themed tree.
Though it was ultimately created as a fundraiser, Super shared that the project has brought together the community in surprising ways.
“People loved it,” Super said. “People came in, the library said they couldn’t believe how many families were using the trees as their backgrounds for their Christmas photos. It was just a great experience.”
When the trees are on display, there will also be an online auction where people can bid on the trees and take them home or donate them further. Winners will be notified on Nov. 27 and can pick up their trees on Monday, Nov. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon and on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Super explained that they decided to move the display times two weeks earlier so it ends on the same weekend as Downtown Haddonfield’s Candlelight Shopping and tree-lighting event rather than beginning that weekend. This also means that the recipients of the trees will be able to have them in their homes for more time before Christmas than last year.
Last year, the Rotary Club raised around $2,000 for local literacy efforts. This year, the club president, Cheryl Laney, has chosen to focus on supporting mental health for children and wellbeing. Laney was inspired by the struggles students have faced during the pandemic and her work as a psychologist.
The Rotary Club will have a sneak peak of what the trees can look like on display at the Haddonfield Public Library until August 5.
For more information on how to participate in the fundraiser, visit https://www.haddonfield rotary.org/. For questions, contact Allison Super at firstname.lastname@example.org.