Thursday, February 02, 2023

Help bring Christmas to everyone

Staff Writer | December 4, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Once upon a time, there was a straggly weed.

It wasn’t much to look at, but the holiday spirit was strong in this weed tucked into a crevice in Toledo, Ohio. Over the summer, the weed grew bigger and embraced the sun. As first fall and then winter arrived, he began to look a little scraggly but knew good things were ahead and kept his spirits bright.

Then, the weed was noticed by a young college student and her family as they were driving through town in early December. The 20-year-old and her family were stopped at the busy intersection when Alyssa Emrick looked over and noticed the weed growing out of the sidewalk crack.

The weed resembled the sparse little tree from the Charlie Brown’s Christmas special, Emrick told her family according to a story on Her dad then suggested that they all pitch in to decorate it — and soon the rest of the family was on board and they headed to a local convenience store to buy ornaments and tinsel.

Purchases in tow, they raced back to the straggly weed and helped it’s festive spirit spring to life.

Over the next few days, pictures of the festooned Christmas weed began appearing on social media — with more and more decorations and other recognized the weed’s holiday spirit and embraced its message of holiday joy.

One of the photos showed that someone had hung ornaments on the weed’s branches; another person then wrapped it up in Christmas lights; and while it wasn’t Linus’s blanket, someone else added a tree skirt to the base of the weed, the story relates.

People loved the Christmas joy and soon the weed had a name — the Toledo Christmas Weed — and soon he had a Facebook page ( so people could post their pictures of the shrub.

Contributions didn’t stop at decorations. Soon, wrapped presents, warm winter clothing and non-perishable food item started to accumulate nearby. One family posed with the shrub for their yearly Christmas photo and carolers on the Toledo Christmas Weed Facebook page made plans to sing carols at the intersection, the website notes in the story.

TCW even earned a spot on Google Maps as a city attraction.

When a local Grinch tried to spoil the fun by stealing the weed, someone else immediately replaced it with a dead potted houseplant and the Toledo Christmas Weed lived on. The mayor of Toledo recently released an official city proclamation that celebrated the beloved Christmas weed.

Just like the Sandpoint Lions and their annual Toys for Tots drive, which continues to see donations come in — even though the $50,000 goal has been met. All the money will go to help buy presents for next Christmas — helping the community’s donations go even further at after-Christmas sales.

So far, the Lions have received $2,425 toward its $50,000 goal — the same as it has been in past years. The Lions make the most of the money by shopping bargains, and with the assistance of generous local businesses.

The Toys for Tots program provides free new toys for children living in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, from Sandpoint to Clark Fork and all points in-between.

If you know someone, or need help yourself, the Lions are taking applications for the Toys for Tots program. Applications are available at Bonner Community Food Bank and on the door of the Lions Den.

Donations for Toys for Tots can be dropped off at the front desk at the Bonner County Daily Bee, 310 Church St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also drop off donations at Columbia Bank’s Sandpoint branch, 414 Church St., or at the Ponderay branch, 300 Bonner Mall Way; the Ponderay Starbucks, and the Ponderay Mountain West Bank.

Donations may be mailed to the Sandpoint Lions Club, Box 414, Sandpoint, ID 83864.

Donations made by check are preferred. Be sure to include a note with your check indicating that it is a Toys for Tots donation. If you wish to make an anonymous donation, please include a note.

If the donation is being made in someone’s name, be sure to also include a note.

Information: Sandpoint Lions Club, 208-263-4118

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