There’s nothing like the fun of picking out and decorating the perfect Christmas tree to put you in the holiday spirit. But if one tree can put you in the holiday spirit, what will 30 do?

The NorthwesTel Festival of Trees is gearing up for their annual kick-off to the holiday season from Nov. 22 until Dec. 1. The Festival combines fun, wonder, and the spirit of giving, all while raising funds for the Yukon Hospital Foundation (YHF).

Decorated trees and wreathes are at the heart of the festival, offering a unique opportunity for companies and organizations to exhibit their products, creativity and community commitment. Groups take on the task of decorating trees, which they then donate to the YHF for the festival.

“Tree decorations range widely,” YHF president Krista Prochazka says. “Some groups create all of their decorations by hand and add coupons for things like ‘dinner for your family cooked in your home,’ while others use a selection of their products as decorations.

“What unifies all of the trees is the time and effort groups put into them, how beautiful they always turn out and how great a community commitment these donations represent.”

Community trees are displayed at the Yukon Government’s main administration building while the more elaborate Grand Ball trees are displayed at the High Country Inn Convention Centre for the Seniors’ Soirée and the Grand Ball. All trees will be on display for this year’s newest free public event, the Multicultural Celebration.

The festival kicks off with the Capstone Mining Humbug Cocktail Party at 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22 at the Yukon Government Main Administration Building. This by-donation event launches the 10-day festival and affords people the opportunity to mingle with community business leaders and politicians.

The next event allows families to get together with Santa and Mrs. Claus for some delicious food and fun. The Skookum Asphalt Santa Breakfast is held at the Yukon Government building on Saturday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., in partnership with the Whitehorse Rotary Club. Participants can enjoy a pancake breakfast for just $5 and can get their photos with the great jolly elf.

The newest edition to the festival’s line-up takes place on Thursday, Nov. 29in partnership with Yukon Cultures Connect. The Multicultural Celebration takes place from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Convention Centre and is the only event to feature all of this year’s trees on display in one location. This free, family-friendly event will showcase and celebrate Whitehorse’s diversity. Performances will feature music and dance from around the world and here at home. Demonstrations will range from African Caribbean craft to Japanese tea ceremonies; a children’s area will feature arts, crafts and storytelling from a range of traditions; and the free food will take you on a culinary global voyage.

Mitch Miyagawa, coordinator for Yukon Cultures Connect, says they are pleased to be a part of the festival this year.

“The Festival of Trees is a wonderful annual celebration, which many community members know and love and the multicultural community in Whitehorse is thrilled to share their culture and traditions with the greater community through this vehicle,” he says. “I really hope many residents choose to join us – it will be a very fun event.”

In addition to the public event that kicks off at 5 p.m., the Multicultural Celebration will open their doors at 3:30 p.m. for school-aged youth who are interested in taking part in the Language of Rhythm workshop. Led by Northern Lights School of Dance’s artistic director Julio Hong, participants will learn concrete examples of how rhythm is used around the world to help people confront adversity, interact with and accept others.

The festival wraps up with two classy, ticketed events, the Seniors’ Soirée and the Grand Ball, both in the Convention Centre, taking place on Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1, respectively. Both nights feature dinner and dancing.

To learn more about the Festival of Trees check out: http://www.yhf.ca/news/event/northwestel-festival-of-trees.

Amber Church is a painter, writer and sports enthusiast. You can reach her at sports@whatsupyukon.com.