The Giving Tree – This is a symbol of what the Western New York spirit is all about.

November 4, 2017

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

Amazing things can happen when fate comes into play….when a local business, and family, team up with the community of WNY people known for their big hearts!

Owner Deborah Tangelder had been using her storefront, The Perfect Gift, as a way to give to others during the holiday season since she opened her business 14 years ago. Annually she coordinated a gift drive to collect gifts to the women, children and families of Cornerstone Manor as part of the City Mission. Inviting customers to join them in donating gifts was always a beautiful tradition.

It stemmed back from years ago when she and her husband as a young married couple would host a charity gift giving party in their home for guests to bring a gift to be donated to a child in need they were personally assigned. But that kind of personal touch became more challenging when they began the gift drive through the business. But last year that all changed.

A huge blessing occurred with the help of the Englert family & friends when The Gratitude tree became a permanent part of the corner of The Perfect Gift on Goodrich Road. With this new community tree concept, Christmas giving could be both large scale AND personal!!


Deborah says, “It has been such a blessing to know the Englerts and team up for the Gratitude tree the past 3 seasons. I know the holidays are hard for them, and I wanted to get back to “personalized” giving … so this seemed to us to be a beautiful project we could focus on together. I am excited to see another way our storefront & lives could carry out our true purpose of serving others. ”


When they were discussing the success of the Gratitude Tree, Deborah shared the name “The Giving Tree” with the Englerts as a new way to use it for the holidays, and to her surprise, they informed her that happened to be her son’s favorite book as a child. Denise says “It was a sign that this would be another chapter of our journey. It is always important to give back and help others. This is what we taught Paul and it gives us something else to focus on during the holidays.” (READ MORE ABOUT PAUL ENGLERT HERE.)

There was an overwhelming response once The Giving Tree was announced last year, families from all over WNY came out to be a secret giving angel! The project was completely confidential through the storefront, information shared (to make it personal) was if they were a girl or a boy, age, and gift requests or family needs.

GET THIS – Upon completion of the project last year, over 750 items were collected, resulting in 140 local kids & families waking up to a tree filled with gifts Christmas morning! 140 kids. Amazing, right…

Deborah feels blessed, “We were overwhelmed by the generosity and goodness displayed…it was a Christmas Miracle. WNY is such a special place to live, we are so excited to be a part of this beautiful giving project & eager to see history repeat itself again this year as an answer to prayer…The Giving Tree! It’s a centerpiece of holiday spirit in our community!”

If you would like to be a holiday angel of The Giving Tree project for 2017 here are the details:

Starting Nov. 5th – Giving Tree Angels (blank tabs) can be found inside mailbox in front of The Giving Tree at 6000 Goodrich Road in Clarence Center. For people that are interested in donating, they can bring an ”angel” into The Perfect Gift now through November 28th during regular business hours (Weekdays 11 a.m. -6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and choose a person’s need that they would like to sponsor.

All angel gifts are asked to be brought to The Perfect Gift on (or prior to) Dec. 2, where they will be organized and delivered to the families in need.

There will be a Holiday Open House event at The Perfect Gift Holiday Open House on gift collection day (12/2), with caroling, and FREE trolley rides for the community from noon to 3 p.m.

If you would like to nominate a family in need for consideration to be added to the list, please contact The Perfect Gift in Clarence Center.   

You can read more about The Perfect Gift from a previous Totally Buffalo Story. 


About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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