Saving Christmas: Local tree farm giving away trees based on donations

Come Christmas morning, families across Central Texas will be gathered around the Christmas tree celebrating. But for some, being able to afford a tree may not have been an option. But, one local tree business is making sure everyone can have those special holiday moments.

Swanny Bean from Leander said she was going to the YMCA in Cedar Park Friday afternoon, “I saw these trees, and I was just coming to look. I mean we had decided that we weren't going to get a tree because we just refinanced our house,” she said when she heard the cost it changed her mind, “He said that everything was donation.” Bean said this year her and her husband decided no gifts, no trees; they were focusing on finances rather than Christmas. So hearing about being able to get a tree for as much as she could pay changed her outlook on this holiday season, “Specially now in our condition that we are in, we need it now more than ever, so that's why I was so happy,” she said. Even better for her unknowing husband, “He’ll be surprised, it'll be the good kind of surprise,” she said.

Aaron Brungot has been selling Christmas trees for a few years now. This idea of "Saving Christmas" came decades ago when he said his family was going through hard times and his mom had to choose between presents or a tree. “There are a lot of people who have not been able to get trees. Financially there's a burden, they can't afford it,” Brungot said there's so many organizations giving away toys and meals, but not Christmas Trees. “The tree has such significance on Christmas morning. If you run down and your presents are sitting on the kitchen table, it's not the same as finding that last present underneath the Christmas tree.” Because of his past, having to choose gifts or a tree is not a choice he wants any family to have to make. “Christmas is about giving, and you never really know the impact you have on people, you see it. Yes you need to make money when you're in business, but those are the things that are memories,’ he said.

For Swanny she said her Christmas tree is all she needs to bring her comfort and joy. “It's beautiful, it's huge, it's about 13-feet and it's just giant.” Not only will the tree gleam so brightly, so now will her holiday spirit. “I haven't been able to stop hugging him. It's just the sweetest thing I've ever heard,” she said.

The Brungot Tree Farm is located at the YMCA in Cedar Park. Brungot said they will be there again Saturday morning to help anyone pack up a tree. They will leave the gates unlocked through the weekend, so if someone wants to come get one on their own they can. Whatever trees are left when he gets back he said they take to the zoo to feed to the animals, and they also use the mulch around the YMCA property.