In the hubbub of the holiday season, it can be easy to get distracted and overwhelmed (there are a lot of twinkling lights to contend with, after all). December, however, is the perfect time to give back, especially within our close-knit community of Jackson Hole. Now’s your chance to make your gifts before the end of the fiscal year and contribute to the merriment of the season for one and all. Not sure where to start? Whether it’s needy families, local schools, or other homegrown efforts, we’ve compiled a great list of starting points here. Merry Gifting!
1. Oh, Tanenbaum
Everyone needs a Christmas tree, right? Well, turns out that simply purchasing your Christmas tree is an easy way to give back and brighten your home at the same time. The JH Shrine Club is selling Christmas trees this year, hosted by Stockton & Shirk Interior Design on 745 West Broadway. Festive garlands and wreaths will also be sold to benefit local non-profits. Stop by Monday through Friday, 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm! These are guaranteed to sell out quickly.
Mark your calendars for next year, too: Each holiday season, the Soroptimists of Jackson Hole host a Christmas tree auction, with all proceeds benefitting the community.
2. Play Santa
Stop by Bank of Jackson Hole’s Hillside Branch soon to take a name from their angel tree. Each card on the tree represents a name–and a gift–for a needy child. Then, simply bring your gift back to the branch–the heaping pile of presents beneath the tree is truly a testament to our community’s spirit of giving.
You can also bring smiles to our community’s children in need by donating to the Santa Claus Fund. Founded in 1978, this organization anonymously distributes everything from stocking stuffers to warm winter coats to our area’s less fortunate children. How it works? Volunteers sign up and “shop” the list provided by local families, serving more than 300 kiddos. Monetary donations can be made directly to the organization to facilitate the massive volunteer effort. Sign up by November 1 of next year if you’d like to play Santa for real. Email scfund307@gmail for more information.
3. Reindeer & Other Four-Legged Friends
Jackson is a town primarily run by dogs (if our local walking trails are any indication). Give back to man’s best friend (felines, too!) at the Animal Adoption Center’s Home for the Holidays event this Saturday, December 12th from 11-3pm at 270 East Broadway. Provide the ultimate gift of a home for a waiting pup or kitty while at the event, OR bring your donations of new toys, beds, treats, or unopened cans of food to deck the halls of the shelter. This is a big event hosting all of the areas’ local shelters and animal advocacy groups. You will get to meet adoptable cats and dogs from the Jackson/Teton County Animal Shelter, Teton Valley Community Animal Shelter, Animal Humane Association of Star Valley and the Animal Adoption Center. Organized by PAWS of Jackson Hole!
4. Shop for Good
Our local grocery stores are no slouches when it comes to giving back. Now through December 19, stop into Jackson Whole Grocer to help decorate the Community Resource Center’s Angel Tree. It’s simple: Buy a gift card for a family in need and Jackson Whole Grocer will donate an additional $5.00 for every donation made. Watch as the Angel Tree fills its boughs with gift cards, all of which will further the Community Resource Center’s mission to provide information, advocacy, agency referrals, emergency assistance and poverty prevention to individuals and families that live or work in Teton County.
In similar fashion, Jackson Hole’s Lucky’s Market is sponsoring a program through Christmas Day where for every Lucky’s Market Private Label item purchased, 10% will go towards providing fresh and organic produce and seafood for the Good Samaritan Mission’s Totes of Hope Children’s Feeding Program, and for the free Community Meal Programs provided at the mission 365 days a year for all people in need in the Jackson Hole community.
5. Focus on Schools
There are myriad ways to support valley schoolchildren and schools this Christmas season, too. The local chapter of the Elks Club accepts donations that go towards all sorts of good causes: a Christmas party for the students of C-V Ranch, a residential school and treatment facility for disabled and emotionally disturbed youth; the children of fallen Wyoming soldiers; the Needy Youth Fund; the Special Olympics, and more. In addition, the Elks are currently accepting donations of used computers (5 years or newer) for students who cannot afford their own. Stop by the Lodge at 270 W Broadway in person after 4:00 or call Pete Kendzior at 307-733-1713 for more information on how to donate. Attending their events helps to give back, too!
If you feel like getting footloose and fancy free, then attending the Journeys School Disco Gala is also an option! This Gala is being held on December 12 at 6:30 pm at the Jackson Campus of the Teton Science Schools. Featuring holiday bites and sweets from Bistro Catering and Atelier Ortega, as well as a full bar with donations from Vine Connections and Grand Teton Distillery, this party represents the ultimate in throwback, give-back party time. Buy your event and raffle tickets at the link above.
6. Snowy Peaks Far and Wide
This Friday, December 11, Jackson’s Got Talent benefits the 2.8 million people displaced by the devastating Nepal earthquake in April of this year. In a community with its own share of mountain pioneers, this cause hits home for many local alpinists. Hosted at Hotel Terra, Jackson’s Got Talent promises to be a fun night of philanthropy for the whole family. You can vote or buy tickets here.
Sometimes all that a lonely or suffering person needs during the holiday season is a sign that someone cares. People Spread Love— a recently-founded organization in Jackson Hole–does just that. Spread notes of love and acknowledgement by browsing the site and completing a “love request,” or donate to the cause of postage and supplies–you can also make these gifts in someone else’s name. This creative, crafty activity is great to complete with kids, all the while highlighting the true reason for the season.
8. Make it Personal
Sometimes the best Yuletide causes are the ones that are nearest and dearest to our hearts. Many local churches and charities are happy to welcome extra hands during the holiday season–check with your favorites to find out what they could use most. A donation at any time of the year never hurts either, whether it’s to organizations that give widely to other non-profits (Community Foundation of Jackson Hole), cultural institutions (National Museum of Wildlife Art), the littler elves among us (Children’s Learning Center), land conservation (Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance), or our locally treasured national park (Grand Teton National Park Foundation). The Community Foundation of Jackson Hole even provides this handy dandy non-profit directory so you can truly see all the organizations that would welcome your gift during the holiday season.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, and help make the season bright for everyone in Jackson Hole.