How to Make an Angel Tree

An Angel Tree is a Christmas tree with name tags hung on the limbs. The tags are small name tags bearing the names of children whose parents are incarcerated. The tags are intended to provide a Christmas for the children who otherwise would go without.


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    Decide how many children you will be sponsoring. Start slow. You may set a goal to sponsor 20 the first year, and within 5 years, you may be up to sponsoring 75 children.
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    Accept donations up front before the opening of the Angel Tree season. This is to cover expenses for the tree, stand, decorations, and tags.
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    Take the top section, or the top half, of an artificial Christmas tree. Affix the tree into a base.
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    Sprinkle, or spray, the tree with fake snow, glitter-glue, tinsel or whatever you like. Don't get carried away with the decorations because the tags are the primary purpose of the tree.
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    Make simple name tags, or buy tags made of cardboard with short strings attached. The tag should look like a traditional luggage tag, or let your imagination go wild while you make colorful and shapely themed cards. Either way, the cards should be folded so the names would not be revealed until the tag is selected. Write the name of a child on each card, seal it, and hang it on the tree.
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    Invite people to choose a tag from the tree. Instruct them with the purpose of the tag, what it's for, how much they should expect to spend, whether it should be wrapped and where to deliver the gift.


  • It might be a good idea to start your Angel Tree at least 3 months in advance.
  • Decide on your dollar limit. There should be a limit that each person will spend on each child.
  • If people don't want to buy gifts, they can donate the money.
  • The money accepted may not all go to a single gift. You can set a price of $25 per child, and then purchase several gifts for the child, and then give any left over money to the family.
  • Write a financial statement detailing where all the money you spent. For example, if you decide on $25 per child, you would list the $15 that you spent on gifts, what those gifts are, and that you gave a $10 check to the person supporting the child.


  • Use all the money you receive to support the children.
  • If asked, you must provide a detailed spending account listing all the money you received, and where it was spent. This is law in some places. Although you may not need a permit, Angel Trees are often considered charities.
  • Do not deal in cash. It's just not a good idea. When you have checks, you have the canceled checks or receipts for your records.

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Categories: Christmas Trees