Holiday Sharing Tree kicks off 36th year

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 10:34 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - For a lot of people, the holidays are a time to spend with loved ones, filled with precious moments and intimate gifts. But for others, it’s a luxury they can’t afford.

That’s what makes the Holiday Sharing Tree an important tradition in the community.

“Since 1985, we have distributed over 70,000 gifts to people in need.”

The sharing tree collects gift cards for people in Blue Earth and Nicollet County who need a helping hand the most. This year there is a new twist to the longtime tradition.

“Inside of every giving card is a gift tag. So, donors can remain anonymous, but they can write a special note to the recipient and just make their holiday even more special.”

The gift cards and donations are making a lasting impression on those who also get to enjoy the good spirits of the holiday season.

“Some families maybe have enough money to just pay the rent or buy some groceries, but they don’t have anything left over to buy their families any gifts for the holidays.”

Something that is making the Holiday Sharing Tree extra joyous this year is the legacy of someone who is no longer with us, but impacted the legacy of the tradition, Marian Anderson, who brought the tree to life through the work of pastels.

“The original, when it was done in 2004, was purchased through an auction by private owners and it has been in private hands since 2004. So, the original hasn’t been seen publicly since 2004,” said Jessica Potter, executive director at the Blue Earth County Historical Society.

Her life’s work is on display at the Blue Earth County Historical Society, now the sharing tree is joining the ranks.

Prints of the iconic work of art will be sold online or at the Blue Earth Historical Society for $25. Each print purchased will be one more gift added to the sharing tree, and it will be one more life impacted.

Even though Marian Anderson is not with us, she is still giving back to the community.

“She was commissioned to do this painting, but then she basically donated everything back to the Holiday Sharing Tree, as a fundraiser for them,” Potter explained. “So, it shows her legacy, it shows how invested she was in this community. So, she was an artist, but she was an artist who had a heart for Mankato, North Mankato and central Minnesota.”

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