How the Giving Tree is bringing the holidays to all Milwaukeeans, one tag at a time.

If you’re a greeting card company, the holiday season already began about three weeks ago. For the rest of us, it’s coming up fast, right behind Thanksgiving and post-turkey tryptophan naps. However, not all of us are sleeping on the season. Nonprofits and charity organizations kick it into overdrive in the weeks leading up to Christmas, toiling away to bring holiday cheer to those in need.

The Northwestern Mutual Foundation and United Way have joined forces this year to raise a Giving Tree in the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons. This Christmas Tree isn’t covered in popcorn strings and gingerbread men, though. Instead, gift tags hang all over its branches, bearing the Christmas wishes of those in our community who are in need this holiday season.

The folks behind the Giving Tree event are inviting the community to stop by and pick out a tag through December 10th. The tag has a wishlist of three items on it, right below a limited description of your gift’s recipient. Once you’ve claimed your tag, you’ve got until Dec. 13 to fulfill the wishes on the tag and return it to the Tower and Commons to get your gifts moving to their final destination.

United Way says that while the campaign is starting strong (Northwestern Mutual employees have claimed over 2,200 tags already), there’s still an urgent need for gift shoppers to fulfill all 11,000 tags up for grabs. With the community’s help, though, it’s far from impossible. The Commons are a space with high visibility and a lot of foot traffic, providing an ideal location to get tags in the hands of the public. On top of that, over 100 groups and businesses in the area have pledged to participate in the program and take tags. 

If you don’t already have plans to give back this holiday season, and you have $20-$25 to spare, stop by the Tower and Commons to check out the Giving Tree for yourself. To face the tags and read the wishes on them is so powerful and humbling that you can’t resist adding just one more person to your gift list this year.

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