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Reporter’s Note: Oh, Christmas Trees

(ROCKWALL ,TX — December 7, 2017) With the Christmas season in full swing, there are a plethora of fun Christmas events and activities happening all of over Rockwall County that will put you in the holiday spirit and have you decking the halls and cranking up “Jingle Bell Rock” in your car in no time. One of the most exciting holiday events Austin and I have had a chance to cover so far was the annual Rockwall Helping Hands Festival of Trees Gala.

Each year, Helping Hands hosts their biggest annual fundraiser for families in need by inviting local businesses and citizens to compete in a Christmas tree decorating contest. The trees are displayed at The Lakefront Hilton in all their Christmas-y glory and sold at anywhere from $100 to more than $1000. The proceeds directly benefit Helping Hands’ charity work. After the Festival of Trees market concludes, guests can purchase tickets to the evening gala event complete with fine dining and a live auction, all of which further benefits Helping Hands.

I’m always up for a chance to dress to the nines, but despite the numerous beautiful gowns and sleek tuxedos in the room, we all looked underdressed compared to the elaborate trees on display. Clearly hours of work went into the arrangements of bright, sparkly ribbons and ornaments adorning each branch. And the shimmering didn’t stop there: everything in the dining area seemed aglow, from the intricate jewel-shaped centerpieces hanging from the ceiling, to the gold sequin tablecloths lit by the gentle warmth of candlelight. It was a breathtaking sight.

Austin and I were excited to learn that we scored a seat at the same table as Santa himself. We feasted on steak and shrimp followed by a massive piece of cheesecake, decorated to match the room with little golden sprinkles.

It was shaping up to be a pretty fun night, and we even made a little Christmas decoration purchase of our own: a small wreath strung up with berries and frost for just $20.

But what I found to be perhaps the most moving and impactful part of the evening was the live auction.

As people leapt up from their seats over and over again to donate thousands upon thousands of dollars to such a deserving organization, I was struck by the magnitude of such generosity. At the end of the auction, there were opportunities to make donations without any sort of item or prize attached, and bidders were equally as enthusiastic to get out their pocketbooks. In a community where so many are so blessed, it is beautiful to behold the earnestness within people to give.

I was so thankful to witness this display of love and philanthropy within my Rockwall community. Instead of associating Christmas with the pursuit of presents or the angry Black Friday mobs, I hope we can each capture that same spirit of love and generosity and bless the community in our own way, no matter how big or seemingly small.

Merry Christmas from the whole Blue Ribbon News team!

By Julie Anne Wells, Blue Ribbon News.

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