Decorating the tree, the scent of pine, Christmas morning gatherings lit by the glow of twinkling lights — most holiday memories center around the iconic presence of a Christmas tree.

Many families facing hard times this year won’t have to forego this tradition, thanks to Chris Frederick, owner of Blue Earth Tree Farm in Ludington, who is again donating Christmas trees to FiveCAP.

“We are so grateful to Blue Earth for this donation,” said FiveCAP Executive Director Mary Trucks. “For more than a decade, they have provided us with trees to distribute for many years now, and the families who receive the trees are so thankful. Parents who are battling to provide shelter for their families and keep their homes warm through the winter don’t have extra money to buy a tree. It’s really wonderful that they can build traditions with their children and have that centerpiece for their holiday celebrations.”

Frederick gathers a band of volunteers each year on a Saturday morning in early December, and together with FiveCAP staff and volunteers, they cut anywhere between 125 and 150 trees, which are then taken back to each of the four counties in FiveCAP’s service area.

Just as the tradition of decorating the tree is the official kickoff of the holiday season for many families, cutting trees and distributing them to appreciative families has become the traditional beginning of the season for both Frederick and FiveCAP.

The trees will be given free of charge on a first come, first served basis on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Trees will be available from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Lake County FiveCAP office, located at 2476 West 44th St., in Baldwin. For more information, call (231) 745-4617.