The spirit of giving and joy during the holiday season gives property managers opportunities to build community through special, timely events.

Many properties participate in some form of charitable donation drive, and/or holiday celebrations. Here are four events some of the industry's top owners are participating in this year.

Giving Tree
Officials at Landmark Apartment Trust of America properties work with the Salvation Army to set up giving trees around the holidays. A tree is decorated with tags that have wish-list items written on them for children in the local areas and community members can choose a tag and purchase the gift for that child.

This is the fourth year the Richmond, Va.-based company will participate and expects to have about 100 properties involved, says Scott Baad, the company’s executive vice president of East Coast operations.

“This is a feel-good situation for everyone, including our vendors, carpet cleaners, housekeeping, residents, office staff,” he says. “It brings everybody to the office and they all have something in common.”

Baad estimates the collective group will donate between 5,000 and 7,000 gifts this year.

White Elephant 
The staff at Seattle, Wash.-based Pillar Properties brings residents at the Corydon together with a white elephant gift exchange, Loree Wagner says.

Wagner, Pillar’s marketing director, says residents gather in the theater room and bring a gift of $5 or less for the exchange.

“It’s a great way to bring our residents together and the theme makes it a lot of fun,” she says.

Holiday Gala
Bringing people together is also the goal of Ross Management’s holiday gala at The Crest at Congressional Plaza in Rockville, Md.

Donations from the gala will come from a silent auction and will be sent to Toys for Tots, says the community's concierge Sandra Combs.

Items from the silent auction are being collected from local vendors near the apartment complex.

“What the Toys for Tots will do is they will bring over the donation boxes and place those in the lobby and then coordinate it with the holiday gala,” she says.

Toy Drive
AvalonBay also participates in a toy drive with the New Jersey Apartment Association, says Ron Ladell, the company’s senior vice president of development.

All of the Arlington, Va.-based company’s properties in New Jersey participate and collect toys and participate in the NJAA Charitable Fund’s Children’s Holiday Party each year.

“It is 100 percent charitable…,” Ladell says. “We do it because it’s the right thing to do. The people from my office that actually go to deliver the toys, they come back with smiles and say that they had a wonderful day. It’s rare that you get to do something like that.”

Lindsay Machak is an Associate Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.