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Festive Holiday Décor Objects with a Face Mask

This holiday season is shaping up to be like no other.  While in normal times we might be planning to travel to see family or getting together with work colleagues or friends, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to reevaluate. Gatherings will be much more limited in scope or non-existent for some. Furthermore, the ability to shop for presents and deliver them in-person has been stymied by the pandemic. Stores have limited hours or are closing down entirely. Friends are hesitant to have you stop by to exchange gifts, even for a short while. This fact is causing a lot of stress and depression, but that does not mean you cannot connect with family and friends in other meaningful ways. There are a number of ways this holiday season to give gifts in a touchless way; gifts that give back and that continue to give long after the holiday season is over. We want to highlight some of our favorites:

1. Animated eCards that plant a tree

The ultimate no-touch gift will also bring a smile to the face of all recipients. And if you are worried about delivery delays, you can relax when ordering our eCards. Sometimes you don’t have a physical street address; with an eCard, all you need is an email address and the eCard is on its way with guaranteed delivery to the recipient’s email box on a date of your choosing. The Gifted Tree’s premium digital eCard not only includes the planting of a tree(s), but deliver an elegant, electronic gift tree planting certificate by emulating the experience of opening a traditionally mailed printed certificate. We create an animated online experience – not only planting trees but saving trees as well by not sending a paper certificate.

Click to View 12 Holiday Digital eCard Options

Sample Holiday Digital eCard Front

Ordering is made easy – choose from one of 12 holiday card designs, enter a personal message and the recipient’s email address. You can also have the eCard sent to your email address for you to forward onto the recipient. Schedule delivery for whenever you desire and check that gift off the list. The Gifted Tree’s premium digital eCard will be memorable and stress free yet with all the accolades sure to follow.

 

2. Donation to a Charity in Someone’s Name

Many charities are struggling to raise funds this year as they are not able to hold their annual fund-raising events. Virtual fundraisers are common replacements, but the results while something, are not bringing in the same amount of donations as normal. Make a donation to a charity of your choice this year and let the charity know it is in honor or celebration of an individual(s) or family. Most charities will notify the recipients of this fact so they will be aware of your generosity.

The Gifted Tree also has a tree charity donation program. Directly help the hard work of a worthwhile cause by planting your gift tree in our Trees for a Cause grove located in a U.S. National Forest. When you choose the gift trees in our Trees for a Cause program, The Gifted Tree will donate 10% of the purchase price to that organization to help fund its valuable programs. Choose from Our Military Kids, which empowers military kids by funding sports, arts and other enrichment activities when their parents are deployed overseas with the National Guard or Reserves, or recovering from severe injuries sustained in a post-9/11 overseas mission. Or choose to benefit Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. As part of its COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts, Direct Relief is working in overdrive to get protective gear and critical care medications to as many health workers as possible, as quickly as possible, with emergency deliveries leaving daily for medical facilities across the U.S. In either case, the recipient will receive the charitable tree planting certificate tribute and be made aware of what the funds will accomplish to help these charities.

3. Local Shop and Restaurant Gift Cards

At some point the pandemic will be in the rear-view mirror and life will return to “normal.”  In the meantime, many local shop and restaurants in your area are struggling to survive. We want them to survive and be around when “normal” returns, and purchasing gift cards to these local establishments will help them survive by providing much needed cash now. Your gift recipient will be able to enjoy the bounty provided by your holiday gift cards when everyone is able to get back out. A win-win for everyone and something for your gift recipient to look forward to. Furthermore, your gift will provide a double bonus – not only will the recipient thank you when the gift card is received, but will think of you again when the gift card is redeemed.

4. Treats for the House-Bound

A number of us are excellent cooks or fabulous bakers. Some have specialties that are known around the neighborhood. Put that talent to good use this holiday season by preparing a meal or a dessert for the elderly to enjoy or those that are house bound with no family members in the area. Create and deliver the goodies, but notify the recipient in advance so you can just leave it on their doorstep, ensuring a contact-free handoff. A smile or thumbs up through the front door window will let you know your generosity is most appreciated. And while a safe hand-off is top of mind, also make sure to wear your mask while preparing the gift to ensure safe enjoyment.

5. Plant a Gift Tree

Planting a Tree sapling in Rich Soil

Planting a tree in honor or celebration of an individual(s) or family is the ultimate “green” gift that will continue to give long after the holiday season is over. The holiday season is also an appropriate time to remember those (including pets) who are no longer with us by planting a memorial tree in their honor. The Gifted Tree plants your holiday tree in 30+ plus countries around the world, one of which might be very meaningful to the gift recipient. Announce the holiday gift tree planting with one of our unique and creative tribute card certificates. From handmade paper to several framed options, all of them include the planting of trees. The benefits are numerous, and reactions are priceless, especially for those who don’t need another material thing. So order now, create a wow!

 

There you have it, a few unique holiday gifts to give during the COVID-19 pandemic. The year 2020 has been a struggle, but this holiday season, not only can you bring a smile to someone’s face, you can do it safely AND help make the world a better place.

Lush field of newly planted tree saplings

 

The Gifted Tree has been planting tens of thousands of gift trees since 2013 making it is easy to forget that not everyone understands exactly what a gift tree is. The fact is we get a number of customers contacting us to ask exactly that question: What is a gift tree?  We figured that if several of you are calling or chatting asking about it every week, there probably are many more out there with that same question. Thus, this blog will answer that question along with related questions that have been asked over the years.

In a nutshell, a gift tree is a sapling tree that will be planted in the forest location of your choosing. While a gift tree is a meaningful way to honor or celebrate people and pets, a physical tree is not delivered. Instead, one chooses one of The Gifted Tree’s unique card tributes or animated eCards to send, that is personalized with your custom message announcing the planting and notifying the recipient of your gift. A gift tree is a way to create a lasting, living legacy while at the same time helping combat the effects of forest fires and climate change. The ultimate “green” gift, giving the world a gift, too.

Sapling versus seedlingPlanting a Tree sapling in Rich Soil

Many of us use those terms interchangeably and in reality, there is not much difference. I like to say a sapling is a slightly more mature seedling, just like an toddler is to a newborn baby. Technically, a seedling is the young plant arising newly from the seed. It is the first stage of the growth cycle of a tree. Hence, the seedling is very tender and succulent. It has very small leaves attached and is very vulnerable to animals such as deer. A sapling, on the other hand, is a young tree that is less than one year old. It is the stage following the seedling stage. Saplings have little trunks of 1 to 6 inches in diameter and have more adult looking leaves. Similar to a seedling, a sapling is also a juvenile life stage of a tree. A sapling can originate from a seed, or through a vegetative part such as cutting. Growing tree saplings in a nursery

As was gone into in-depth in a previous blog, https://www.thegiftedtree.com/reforestation-how-to-reforest-after-a-forest-fire/, your gift tree planted by The Gifted Tree starts out as a seed, but is planted as a sapling. These seeds were collected from the area where these seeds turned saplings will eventually be planted, usually a year or so later after having been nurtured in a nursery through the seedling to sapling stage. The reason for this is the sapling grown from the seeds have an extremely high survival rate because they are genetically ready for the climate, altitude and soil conditions of the area.

Living tree Sapling among forest fire destroyed treesIn summary, seedlings and saplings are two juvenile growth stages of a plant that will ultimately become a mature tree. Your gift tree from The Gifted Tree is a sapling because quite simply, it is best suited for long-term survivability and able to endure for generations to come.

 

 

Most popular gift tree reason

The most popular gift tree reason is planting a memorial tree in memory of a loved one or for someone close to you that has lost a loved one. A memorial tree not only can honor a person, but is a meaningful way to memorialize a loyal and faithful pet. A memorial tree is an epic tribute to a life well lived, and not only aids in the reforestation of areas ravaged by forest fire, disease or climate change, it also helps provide comfort to an individual or family at a time of grieving.

And also remember, planting a gift tree is an ideal way to celebrate life events, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, teachers, employee recognition, new births, graduations and holidays. A gift tree fits every occasion – helping you connect on a personal level with someone important to you and acknowledge these important milestones.

 

More Gift Tree FAQs specific to The Gifted Tree

Where is the gif tree planted?

The gift tree is planted in the forest location of your choosing. Unlike other gift tree businesses, The Gifted Tree plants trees around the world, not just in the United States. While there are numerous national and state forest locations to choose from in the U.S., you also can choose from 30+ other planting locations worldwide. No matter the planting location you finally select, the tree is planted by one of our trusted non-profit planting partners and will help combat the effects of forest fires, disease and climate change. There is also an educational component to the gift tree plantings, especially those planted in developing nations. Not only are we planting trees in these regions, but farmers are also being trained in best tree planting methods, nursery preparation, farm conservation and finance, and irrigation management. young smiling children planting trees in MexicoMost of these individuals have no prior knowledge of proper land management techniques, but this training will be a significant factor in the fight against deforestation. They also learn methods and techniques to protect trees to withstand local climatic conditions and thus help to ensure the newly planted trees’ long-term survival.

Are gift trees marked with plaques?

Unfortunately, this is not possible. Your tree is planted among thousands of other gift trees and there is no plaque designating your gift tree, but an official register is maintained in our office. Take comfort in the knowledge that while your gift tree is not designated on the ground with a plaque, it does become part of the much larger forest ecosystem.

Can I specify the species of gift tree to be planted?

While the types of trees planted at a particular project are listed in the planting location details on our website, you are not able to designate the type of tree to plant. We leave it up to the professionals on site to determine the best tree to plant to achieve the project’s goals. Silviculturists (scientists who study how to grow trees) decide on the type of tree that will grow best in an area, and the best time of year to plant. The objectives of the silvicultural prescriptions for planting sites include the reintroduction of tree species that were originally in that particular ecosystem in order to improve the resilience and resistance of the forest to fire, insects, diseases, and the potential effects of climate change.

Can I visit the gift tree I have planted?

Unfortunately, since the trees are not marked and can be in very remote locations, some dangerous to get to, it is not possible to visit your tree. It is possible, however, to visit the general tree planting location virtually on your computer. Information is included in the gift packet along with the certificate with all the details.

When will the gift tree be planted?

The gift tree will be planted at the best suitable planting time for each project, which is typically in the location’s spring or fall. Therefore, depending on when your gift tree was purchased, there could be a gap of time until it is actually planted. This is being done to ensure the long-term survival of the trees as well as to accomplish the goals of the project.

Now that you understand what a gift tree is, whether the gift tree is planted in memory of a lost loved one, or to celebrate a happy life event, know that a lot of scientific thought went into the planting, ensuring that your gift tree will have a lasting impact and be a gift to the earth as well.

Connect Personally - Benefit Globally - Support A Cause

The Gifted Tree has always helped the earth by planting trees worldwide to counteract the devastating effects of forest fires and climate change, but we have added a new wrinkle. Your gift tree will still help you connect with someone special to you and give the world a gift too, but now you can also help support a cause.

Announcing Our Trees for a Cause Planting Program

The Gifted Tree announces our Trees for a Cause win-win-win partnership program. Win 1 = Connect on a personal level with someone important to you and show them you care. Win 2 = By planting a tree, you are helping the earth, counteracting the devastating effects of forest fires and climate change. Win 3 = Directly help the hard work of a worthwhile cause by planting your gift tree in a charity-specific “Giving Grove,” located in a U.S. National Forest. When you choose our Trees for a Cause program, The Gifted Tree will donate 10% of the purchase price to that organization to help fund their valuable programs.

Our Military Kids Logo - Empowering Military Kids

Our Military Kids Partnership

Our first partnership is with Our Military Kids and their “Giving Grove” is called the Empower Tree Grove and is located in a U.S. National Forest. Since 2004, Our Military Kids empowers military kids by funding sports, arts, and other enrichment activities when their parents are deployed overseas with the National Guard or Reserves or recovering from severe injuries sustained in a post-9/11 overseas mission.

National Guard and Reserve families sometimes have trouble accessing support services from military installations. During deployments, these families may lose income when their military member leaves a civilian job to accept a military position overseas. The loss of income and lack of resources can create gaps that are hard on families. Our Military Kids fills these gaps with a simple grant program that pays for their children’s activities.

Wheel-chair bound amputee military father helping his daughter on the playgroundWhen military members are injured in service to our country, their families face many changes. They may have to move closer to medical care or change their comfortable routines. Children must often take a back seat while parents deal with more pressing issues related to medical care, financial strains, and other adult responsibilities. Our Military Kids grants ease the financial strain on parents while giving their children the chance to participate in positive activities that will help them laugh, grow, and feel connected to the community.

The History of Our Military Kids

In early 2004, Our Military Kids started small, with a pilot program focused on a National Guard unit from Winchester, Va. The pilot program was extremely successful, and they expanded to help all deployed Reserve and National Guard families living throughout Virginia. Air Force father holding his daughter

Calls from deploying soldiers were sometimes heartbreaking. Feeling the need to help more children cope with the challenges brought on by lengthy separations, Our Military Kids began covering families living in Maryland, the District of Columbia and, eventually, the entire United States.

In 2008, Our Military Kids expanded its program once again, this time to include children of service members and veterans from all branches of service who were severely injured in post-9/11 combat operations, and whose families were struggling to deal with financial and emotional hardships.

Today, Our Military Kids is a national organization. Funded entirely by private donors, foundations and corporate sponsors. Since its inception, the group has provided more than 67,000 grants to military families across the country, allowing military kids the opportunity to participate in sports, arts and other activities while their parents are deployed or recovering from severe injuries sustained in combat. Participation in these activities helps military children cope with stress and build self-confidence while their parents are recovering or serving overseas.

4-Star Rating

While The Gifted Tree is so impressed with the mission of Our Military Kids, we are also attracted to the group’s financial acumen and transparency.  Our Military Kids has earned the highest possible 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator, the leading charity watchdog organization. Because of the group’s careful money management, a high percentage of donation dollars is going directly to fund kids’ grants, something that is important to The Gifted Tree and guided its decision to include the organization in our Trees for a Cause program.Two Our Military Kids children proudly holding their grant award certificates

How It Works

If you want to plant a tree in memory of, in celebration of or in honor of someone close to you and make a difference in a child’s life, consider our Trees for a Cause option. For Our Military Kids, help their worthwhile cause by planting in their Empower Tree Grove located in a U.S. National Forest. The exact location will be noted on the tree planting certificate. Choose from any of our certificate presentation options and select “Trees for a Cause – Our Military Kids” in the Tree Planting location in the drop down on the order page. Ten percent (10%) of the purchase price of your gift tree will be donated to the organization to directly help fund its programs, which ease stress for military kids by paying for participation in sports, fine arts, & tutoring programs while their parents are serving their country overseas or recovering from battle wounds.

Choose Trees for a Cause and help support Our Military Kids. Learn more or plant your tree by clicking here.

Madagascar Landscape

No matter where you plant, realize you are making a difference 

You have decided to plant a gift tree – either a memorial tree planted in memory of a loved one (human or pet), or in someone’s name to celebrate one of life’s milestones, perhaps a birthday, anniversary or birth. The Gifted Tree plants gift trees in over 20 countries around the world, the only memorial tree planting company to do so. Now you must decide where you would like to plant the tree. No matter which location you choose, or if you can’t decide and just want to have us plant the gift tree in the area of most need, realize that you are making a monumental difference for the earth and opening a new doorway to the world for future generations.

Beyond forest fires and climate change

Typically, most of us think that our gift tree should be planted to reforest areas that have been devastated by forest fire or negatively affected by climate change. While these are two good and valid reasons for deciding where to plant, there is another important benefit that can be gained by planting your memorial tree in certain locations around the globe; socio-economic gain.

Planting gift trees make a difference in people's lives

Spending the day collecting firewood

This benefit can be difficult to grasp, mainly because in our first world country, we do not experience the difficulties of everyday life encountered by third world communities. A significant amount of deforestation, particularly in African and Asian nations, occur because the population needs the wood just to cook their meals. The sad part is, as time goes on and the wood sources move farther away from homes, citizens, particularly women and children, need to travel miles everyday just to collect firewood to cook that evening’s dinner. The better part of the day is spent gathering wood with little or no time left to work on jobs that would lead to economic gain.

No problem, forest resources are unlimited, Not

The alarming rate of deforestation in these areas is also due to the economic value of the forest, specifically timber products. Deforestation is so serious that individuals have cut down large trees that have been standing for decades for little or no reason at all. Many believe the forest is meant to be exploited or cut down to meet their needs. Bush burning and unsustainable logging are very widespread, and many believe forest resources are unlimited, and that what they take from the forest is too minimal to make a difference.

Beyond planting trees, educating

The gift tree planting projects The Gifted Tree is involved in Africa and Asia have multiple socio-economic benefits. Not only are we planting trees in these regions, but farmers are also being trained in best tree planting methods, nursery preparation, farm conservation and finance, and irrigation management. Most of these individuals have no prior knowledge of proper land management techniques, but this training will be a significant factor in the fight against deforestation. They also learned methods and techniques to protect trees to withstand local climatic conditions and thus help to ensure the newly planted trees’ long-term survival.Planting gift trees changes lives, forever

 

Planting trees and changing lives, forever

Your planting of a gift tree in these developing nations will include a variety of fruit and nut-bearing trees such as fig, quince, pomegranate, apple, lemon, olive, apricot, orange, pear, and walnut. This social forestry education, coupled with an increase in technology literacy, provides sustenance for the villagers, as well as allowing for job growth in the region, and the ability to earn a sustainable income by selling excess fruit and nuts in the local markets.

By choosing to plant your gift tree in an African or Asian nation, you give families the ability to transition from unsustainable farming techniques to a forest garden system. Your memorial tree not only sustains and empowers the citizens of these regions, but also changes their lives forever.

 

Lone tree in a field with magnificent sunset

Last week was World Environment Day, the United Nations’ day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. This year’s theme was Air Pollution and asking the world to come together to beat it. Unarguably, air pollution is a complex matter, but also unarguably, the planting of trees is definitely a step in the right direction for improving the quality of the air that we all breathe.

The relationship between trees and air pollution is a complicated one, but with half a football field of forest destroyed every second, we need to understand the impact the loss of trees will have on the quality of our air, and how planting trees will benefit all of us.

Trying to keep this as simple as possible, heat from the earth is trapped in the atmosphere due to high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases that prohibit it from releasing the heat into space. This creates a phenomenon known today as the “greenhouse effect.” Trees help by removing CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis to form carbohydrates that are used in plant structure/function and return oxygen back into the atmosphere as a byproduct. Roughly half of the greenhouse effect is caused by CO2. Therefore, trees act as carbon sinks, alleviating the greenhouse effect.Trees in a Forest

In urban areas, trees also reduce the greenhouse effect by shading houses and office buildings. This reduces the need for air conditioning by up to 30 percent which in turn reduces the amount of fossil fuels burned to produce electricity. The combination of CO2 removal from the atmosphere, carbon storage in wood and the cooling effect makes trees extremely efficient tools in fighting the greenhouse effect and thus, air pollution.

Trees also remove gaseous air pollution by uptake via leaf stomata or simply, the leaf pores.  Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and intercept airborne particulates (major health hazards in air pollution) out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark. Trees along urban roadways can reduce the presence of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere within a few hundred yards of the roadside verge. All of this scientific jargon basically means that trees reduce the concentration of bad stuff in the air that we breathe

Planting trees remains one of the most cost-effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. If every American family planted one tree, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be reduced by one billion pounds annually. This equates to almost 5 percent of the amount that human activity pumps into the atmosphere each year.

Taken together, there is no doubt that trees provide a net positive benefit to the environment, which is why it is almost uniformly true that neighborhoods with lots of trees command greater housing values than Runner in a tree lined urban parkwaythose without. You can help by planting memorial gift trees and gift trees celebrating milestone events for people or pets. The Gifted Tree makes it easy to do, and with our innovative and amazing presentation certificates, it will show you care, as well as make a difference.  Plant your gift tree to help forests devastated by fire or climate change, and improve the quality of the air we breathe!

One question we get at The Gifted Tree is “Why plant again after a forest fire, aren’t you just setting the scenario for another forest fire?” As with most issues in life, there are two sides to the story. Since here at The Gifted Tree we plant gift trees, I will lean toward the “plant again” side.

Wildfire is a necessary and important part of a natural landscape, but it is undeniable that some wildfires have harsh and negative impacts on communities, water resources, outdoor recreation resources, and fish and wildlife habitat. In these cases, post-fire restoration can be crucial to prevent further damage and to spur recovery. Reforestation is important in creating wildlife habitat, decreasing soil erosion, encouraging snow retention, sequestering carbon, providing clean air and water, and reestablishing native tree species and future seed sources.

Damage from some wildfires doesn’t always stop once the flames are suppressed and the smoke clears, and is sometimes more devastating than the fire itself. Loss of vegetation as a result of an intensely burning large fire can expose soil to erosion. We have all read about the recent fires in California followed by torrential rains creating massive and deadly mud slides.

The sight of blackened earth after a fire is hard to take, but in this plight, patience is a virtue. While every fire situation is different, post-fire restoration is a process that can take years. Sometimes the trees can grow back on their own – the blackened trees lining the ground hide what is going on their underside ─ sometimes there is new growth which can spawn new trees as well as provide a habitat for wildlife such as birds. Also. while the temperatures at surface level can be very high, destroying all vegetation, just below the surface, the temperatures can be quite normal. Thus, in certain situations, root systems remain intact and will regenerate on their own.

In other situations, fires burn with such intensity that no seed source remains, and humans need to be the catalyst. In these situations, the reforestation action starts with a seed, literally. The forest service is in the business of constantly collecting seeds from different elevations and different species of trees from forests all over the country. These seeds are carefully labeled so that when they are needed, they are replanted in the exact area where, or very near to where, they were harvested. In fact, in addition be being geographically replanted in the same area, seeds are planted at the same elevation within 700 feet from where they were collected. That means a Ponderosa Pine seed collected in Colorado would not be planted in Idaho. Or one collected in Northern Colorado would not be replanted in Southern Colorado. If collected and handled properly, these seeds can be viable for 30 to 40 years.

The Gifted Tree works with partners who focus on planting where the greatest reforestation needs exist, in areas impacted by large-scale fires or insects and disease where there is virtually no probability the area will reforest on its own. In those cases, seeds are ordered from the seed bank nursery and the nursery workers find the ones collected from the area when the devastation occurred.

Once the seeds are carefully inspected and the duds discarded, they are planted in holes made in large Styrofoam blocks. Those blocks lay end-to-end in the glass greenhouse, where workers nurse them along until the next viable planting season. That means the seedlings will not be ready to plant until at least one year after a fire. At the same time, Forest Service experts prepare the burned area and make sure it is safe for the workers and the soil is ready for planting.

At precisely the right moment, usually late spring, or early summer, the baby trees are shipped back to the forest for planting. They have a very high survival rate because they are genetically ready for the climate, altitude and soil conditions of the area.

Reforestation is a scientifically honed process, a picture that takes a while to complete. The Gifted Tree works with agencies that not only plant your gift tree where it has the best chance for growth but revisit the planting areas for several years after to ensure long-term viability. So whether the gift tree is planted in memory of a lost loved one, or to celebrate a happy life event, know that a lot of scientific thought went into the planting ensuring that your gift tree will have a lasting impact and be a gift to the earth as well.  Discover more on the three steps to planting a gift tree at https://www.thegiftedtree.com/build-your-gift-in-three-easy-steps/.

Yours treely,

Doug