Trees of Hope: Fairmont Gives Back for the Holidays
Christmas trees sparkling with lights and glittery ornaments are a special part of the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts holiday tradition. This season is also the time for giving, and Fairmont’s annual Trees of Hope charitable initiative makes it easy for you to give back.
Guests booking the Trees of Hope package can enjoy a memorable, festive getaway and up to 30% off at participating Fairmont Hotels & Resorts across North and Central America. For each night of your stay, Fairmont donates $10 USD/CAD to a charity of the hotel’s choice.
Since it began three years ago, the Trees of Hope campaign has raised thousands of dollars for local children’s charities. Your nightly room donation is just the start. Hotels fill their lobbies and public spaces with elaborately decorated Christmas trees sponsored by local businesses, and host additional fundraising events ranging from cookie decorating and silent auctions to breakfast with Santa and an adorable Teddy Bear Suite for public tours.
In 2016, Fairmont Le Château Montebello, Québec hosted a tree-decorating party, complete with wine and cheese, to create seven sponsored trees, raising $6,770 CAD for local food bank La Banque Alimentaire de la Petite Nation. Fairmont Palliser in Calgary encouraged guests to buy ornaments for an undecorated Christmas tree, resulting in a donation of $7,231 CAD to Ronald McDonald House.
Thanks to its silent auction and display of more than 30 spectacular trees, Fairmont Château Laurier, Ottawa succeeded in raising $108,000 CAD for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. South of the border, Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica held Meet Me Under the Fig Tree, a community event inviting families to gather beneath the historic Moreton Bay fig tree for a fun day of food and live music, plus crafts and a gingerbread house display. Guests donated more than 10,000 pounds of nonperishable food for The People Concern, a charity assisting vulnerable individuals and families in the community.
Running in tandem with the Trees of Hope campaign, Santa Suites are another much-loved Fairmont holiday initiative, where suites within participating hotels are decked out with Christmas trees and bright decorations as a home away from home for Santa. Swissotel Chicago (a Fairmont sister hotel) treated two year old Luke Gregory, a small boy with rare bone disorder osteopetrosis, to a thrilling lunch with Santa in his five-room suite, complete with gifts, Christmas cookies and cake pops decorated with a Super Luke emblem.
See Super Luke's story here.
Seattle Festival of Trees
Among this year’s stand-out events is the Seattle Festival of Trees at Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle. With its lavishly decorated Christmas trees, the annual show has been enchanting Seattleites and visitors for 40 years. Professionally designed trees are displayed in the hotel before being sold to benefit the Seattle Children’s Hospital. The 2017 festival kicks off with an extravagant gala on November 18. At the Festival of Trees Celebration the following day, you can pose with Santa, enjoy homemade cookies and storytelling and buy elegant, handcrafted ornaments for your own tree.
The Seattle trees will be on display from November 18 to November 29, with themes ranging from Star Wars to the Arctic to a Grinch-inspired creation. Kids (and kids at heart) are also sure to make a beeline for the Teddy Bear Suite, open November 23 to December 26. Created by local interior designer Kevin Bradford, this huge suite will be filled with irresistibly cuddly teddies, with donations also going to the hospital.
Getting Arty in Whistler
Picture a winter wonderland, and Whistler, BC, is likely to check all the boxes: mountains blanketed in powdery snow, skiers whizzing down the slopes and cozy cafes serving eggnog and hot apple cider. Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s location at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain puts you at the heart of the action.
In collaboration with Mountain Galleries, the hotel is inviting 10 renowned Canadian artists to create a painting based on the theme “hope” at a Trees of Hope weekend retreat. Each artwork will then be displayed from December 1, 2017, to January 7, 2018, and sold via silent auction. Proceeds go to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, which offers palliative care to sick kids in British Columbia. Last year’s event raised $22,890 CAD.
Once you’ve selected your favourite painting, take your pick from the hotel’s vast array of holiday activities. You might settle in with the kids for daily family movies or try your hand at making your own snow globe. Snuggle up with hot chocolate by the fire on the Wildflower Patio, or whirl your partner around at a glamorous Christmas or New Year’s Eve gala dinner and dance. If Trees of Hope has piqued your creativity, you can also order your own live pine tree, complete with pack of lights and ornaments, to decorate in your room.
Christmas in the Desert
The six-week Christmas at the Princess festival at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Arizona is an unforgettable extravaganza. Think desert ice skating and s’mores by the fire followed by a spin on a glittering Christmas carousel and a train ride around the resort’s lagoons, illuminated by 4.5 million LED lights. You can also explore the charming Christmas village and gaze at 70,000 lights on the four-story animated musical tree, all twinkling in time to classic holiday tunes.
The hotel’s colourful display of locally sponsored trees helps to raise money for the #LoveUp Foundation, a charity which arranges special experiences, such as going to a ball game or enjoying a Christmas party, for children in the foster care system. Book the hotel’s Trees of Hope package, and you’ll receive a commemorative #LoveUp teddy bear, VIP lane access to select festival attractions and one-hour early access to popular activities, including photos with Santa and Frosty’s Ferris Wheel.
Other 2017 Highlights
- Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya is holding a Mayan artisan market and fundraising dinner, with proceeds going to the Mexican Red Cross.
- Money raised from sponsored trees at Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii is being donated to Hawaii Island Toys for Tots.
- A tree lighting ceremony and specially decorated Santa Suite at Fairmont Royal York in Toronto will raise funds for Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
To get in on the action of celebrating the true spirit of the holidays, all you need to do is book a stay at one of the participating Fairmont Hotels & Resorts by December 31, 2017, for stays until January 31, 2018.
Susie Henderson is passionate about travelling and has written articles and travel guides for numerous publications and websites, including the World Travel Guide, Sky News online, MSN Travel, Mail Travel, The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. She's lived in the UK, France, Spain and the US and is now based in Victoria, BC.