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Tree traditions bring joy to the holiday season

by Alena James

November 2, 2021

As the holiday season approaches, and the Sacramento region is transformed by the colorful display of autumnal leaves, many of us are preparing for celebrations with our friends and families. Whether you are heading up to Apple Hill to pick fresh fruit for a pie, raking up a giant pile of leaves to play in, or collecting leaves and pinecones for a holiday craft – trees often play a central role in our cultural, familial, and spiritual traditions.

Some traditions with trees pay homage to our ancestral roots, while others connect us with our community or show appreciation for our environment. Sacramento is home not only to a diverse urban forest showcasing trees from all over the world, but also to a diverse population filled with rich cultures and traditions. From all of our various walks of life, it is our unique experiences that strengthen our community, just as the biodiversity of our urban forest makes it thriving and resilient.

Trees connect us to our roots

Willie Recht, Chief Executive Officer with The Jewish Federation of Sacramento, spoke with us about the deep spiritual meaning of trees in Judaism. The Jewish calendar recognizes Tu Bishvat, the new year of the tree, an ecological awareness day in January in which trees are planted in appreciation and care for our environment. Trees are a recurring theme in Jewish faith, starting with the Hebrew term Etz Chaim, meaning Tree of Life.

In fact, the Jewish community often celebrates milestones by having a tree planted in one’s honor in Israel. Willie had a tree planted for his bar mitzvah, and even sought the tree out when he visited Israel as a teenager. This tradition inspired him by creating a physical connection to the Jewish homeland, and marked an important moment in his life with a symbol of growth and hope for the future.

Share your tree traditions with us

Do trees play an important role in your cultural, spiritual or family traditions? Do you have any memories of trees growing up? We want to hear from you! Please share your tree traditions with us and explore others in our community at bit.ly/TreeStories2021.

Give the joy of trees on Giving Tuesday: November 30, 2021

While many people in our region celebrate traditions with trees this time of year, canopy inequity prevents some of our most marginalized communities from even accessing this precious resource. That’s why your support is critical to growing our urban forest in under-canopied neighborhoods, so that everyone can experience the joy, wonder, and togetherness fostered by a healthy canopy of trees.

By making your gift to the Sacramento Tree Foundation this Giving Tuesday, you are giving the gift of trees to everyone this holiday season. Gifts made by midnight on November 30 will help us reach our goal of $10,000 and will be put to use immediately growing and protecting our urban forest.

Please mark your calendars for Giving Tuesday on November 30 or make your donation early at www.sactree.com/GivingTuesday to equalize access to the joy and health benefits of trees in under-canopied communities.