Around the globe, holiday events are successful not only because they invite community involvement and inspire traditions that bring people together year after year, but also because they generate revenue and create jobs.

Such is true of holiday markets that occur throughout the state of Idaho around this time each year—each one delivers tangible economic return in addition to the social and community benefit they bring.

Now in its 33rd year, the Festival of Trees fundraiser for St. Alphonsus hospitals occurs at the Boise Centre during the week of Thanksgiving. Throughout its history, it has raised more than $9 million dollars, and this year’s proceeds specifically benefit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Alphonsus. Individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and church groups donate items to be sold, including decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, treats, and arts and crafts. In addition to the market, the Festival brings communities together for local cultural dance and choir presentations, meetings with Santa, fashion shows, and Christmas villages.

The Festival of Trees represents an annual tradition of giving—thousands of hours and dollars—for individuals and families throughout Idaho. In volunteering, community members come together to support a shared cause. Many of those involved have a personal stake in the success of the fundraisers because they or their family members are connected to the hospitals, schools, and organizations that receive the funds.

Other holiday events include downtown tree lightings, “ugly sweater” fun runs, Winterland festivals, and theater and dance events in communities throughout Idaho. Holiday events throughout the state collectively raise millions of dollars and strengthen local economies and communities. Beyond economic return for vendors and organizations, these seasonal fundraisers, markets, and service opportunities help residents feel anchored.

Festival of Trees events occur in many places throughout the United States and Canada, including several communities in Idaho. While the St. Alphonsus festival is one of the largest Festival of Trees fundraisers in Idaho, others throughout the state benefit different causes. For example, the Twin Falls Festival of Trees benefits St. Luke’s hospitals, the Coeur d’Alene Festival of Trees benefits Kootenai Health, the Pocatello Festival of Trees benefits K-12 education in the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District, and the Idaho Falls Festival of Trees benefits people with disabilities by raising funds for Development Workshop, Inc.

Idaho Job Report. Idaho’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8% in September, and the national unemployment rate increased 0.1 percent to 5.0% in September.

Idaho Housing Market. In September, the CoreLogic® Home Price Index (HPI) for Idaho, which measures home price appreciation, experienced a year-over-year increase of 7.7%.  Nationally, the HPI increased 6.3% during the same period.

Consumer Confidence. The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index® decreased 4.9 points to 98.6 in October. The Present Situation Index decreased 7.3 points to 120.6, and the Expectations Index decreased 3.3 points to 83.9.

Inflation. The U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.2% from August to September. Year over year, the index increased 1.5%, which is below the Federal Reserve’s target annual inflation pace of 2%.