Employee volunteers make annual Festival of Trees & Lights tree a show-stopping fundraiser

David Miller, the 2019 Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Employee Volunteer of the Year, and the marketing and communications team have raised the most funds for Festival of Trees & Lights the past 13 years.

For 13 consecutive years, David Miller, Norton Healthcare’s director of creative services has served as “chief elf” of the marketing and communications department’s Festival of Trees & Lights tree decorating committee. He oversees choosing a theme for the tree, purchasing and creating ornaments, arranging for the accompanying gift package and decorating the tree on-site. For his dedication to the volunteer effort, David was named the Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Employee Volunteer of the Year for 2019.

For several weeks before Festival of Trees & Lights, his home becomes a holiday workshop for craft nights and art supply storage. Ornaments, paint, wire cutters, glue guns and art supplies are strewn about a room in David’s home. Glitter falls like snow, giving the fall evenings a festive flair, as the team gathers after work to make ornaments and other adornments for the department’s 9-foot tree to be donated for sale at the annual Children’s Hospital Foundation event.

Although David received the award, he credits his team for making the holiday vision come to life.

“This isn’t something that I do by myself,” David said. “Although I was recognized, it really is a team effort.”

Festival of Trees & Lights

The 30th annual Festival of Trees & Lights will be held Nov. 15 to 17 in the indoor concourse at Louisville Slugger Field.
The event features hundreds of beautifully decorated trees, wreaths and décor items. Proceeds benefit Norton Children’s Hospital.

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The whole department chips in, not only by serving on the committee and participating in craft nights, but also by raising money throughout the year for the tree decorations. Fundraising efforts include a chili cook-off and monthly donations that let staff wear jeans on Fridays. The same Jeans Day for Charity fund also provides money to support holiday gifts for employee families in need.

The tree is sold to the highest bidder and comes ready-made for the holidays, fully decorated and stocked with high-end gifts such as a laptop computer, gift cards, artwork, jewelry and more.

Tree themes over the years have ranged from seasonal ideas such as silver and gold and winter woodlands to pop culture references such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Wizard of Oz.” For 2019, the theme is “retro toyland.” The department’s tree often wins the festival’s Designer’s and People’s Choice awards and has raised the most funds in the large tree category for 13 years.

While David enjoys the teamwork and creativity involved in decorating the tree, his favorite part is the connection to the patients at Norton Children’s Hospital.

“We are not caregivers,” David said. “And this is one of those times I feel closest to patients.”

See the majesty of the marketing and communications tree, “retro toyland,” at this year’s Festival of Trees & Lights!