Circles of Caring Wreath Contest Spreads Holiday Cheer in Capital Region

It’s something we’re thrilled to announce: the Circles of Caring contest is back.

Sidelined for the past two years, we’ve received requests as each holiday season approaches: Is the annual wreath contest returning? Yes, Virginie, there will be wreaths.

We’re calling on creatives across the Capital Region to design and create artificial wreaths, meant to bring some Christmas cheer to people served by various organizations and nonprofits in the region. Since 2015, we have donated approximately 400 wreaths as part of this effort to organizations such as the Visiting Nurses Association, Foster Grandparents Program, Capital City Rescue Mission, Brookdale Niskayuna and many more.

In addition to giving back, winners and first runners-up in the judging categories will earn a gift certificate to a local garden center.

So how can you be part of this project?

Make a crown! It can be made from any material except real evergreen – faux evergreens, vines, moss, faux branches, ornaments, etc. are all suitable. Decorate as desired. In the past we’ve had ribbons and bows, battery operated lights, dainty balls, snowflakes, reindeer, fruit, musical instruments – whatever tickles your fancy, make your crown reflects this.

We will have four categories, each with a winner and a runner-up: children (12 and under); teens (13-18) and adults (19+), plus a class/group/organization that can make a wreath together. (We also had school classes create multiple crowns and submit them under one class name.)

Entries must be received internally by Wednesday, November 16. Be sure to include a tag showing your name, age, address and phone number. (If you don’t, we can’t include you in the contest.) Then, lay your wreaths between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the entrance to the Hearst Media Center – there will be a box in which to place entries — from the Times Union, 645 Albany Shaker Road in Colony. You can also mail it to Times Union, Box 15000 News Plaza, Albany, NY 12212.

Once we’ve received all of the submissions, Times Union staff will choose our favorites, photograph them, and run a digital voting contest on beginning Monday, November 28 and ending Monday, December 5.

The winning crowns and runners-up will be featured in the Relaxation section and on on Sunday, December 18. We will also post a photo gallery on each submission’s website, so that all Circles of Caring submissions will get their moment to shine and sparkle.

Over the winter, Times Union staff will donate the wreaths to nonprofit organizations and we will photograph the process for a future feature in Times Union and on If you have questions about the contest or recommendations for nonprofits that can spread good cheer, contact Sara Tracey at [email protected]

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