Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My Favorite Part About Christmas

One Christmas season, when I was a kid (I think I might have been in high school), I remember my stepmother opening the trunk of her car and it being crammed with packages. She said that her work had gotten together and bought gifts for kids in foster care and/or group homes. In addition to all the bright, shiny packages weighing down her trunk, she and her coworkers were chipping in together to get a bicycle.

I remember thinking that was the most awesome thing ever and I couldn't wait until I could do that, too.

Every Christmas when I have worked somewhere that participated in a similar program, I have participated.

Over the years, I have purchased toddler toys, clothes of all styles and sizes, coats, blankets, pillow cases, kitchen wares for kids aging out of the foster system, underwear and socks and robes for elderly individuals who were unable to purchase them on their own.
It has become my favorite part of the Christmas season.

I don't even know if I can describe why I enjoy participating in this program so much.

Part of it is just being able to share our good fortune with someone who would otherwise, probably, go without.

Part of it is that, a little bit, it's easier to make choices. We're not given color, character, style preferrences.
This year, it was:
Coat, size large
Boy clothes, size 3/4T
CD Walkman
Walmart Gift card
Because these kids are in the Child Protective Services system, it's safe to assume that these may be the only presents they receive. Social workers ask them for a wish list, or give us a list of things they need. Usually two or three items, almost always essential items, with one "just for fun".
Last year we had a mid-teens girl who wanted pillowcases - plural. One for her pillow, one for her belongings.
What 15 year old asks for pillow cases? And how many do you know of can keep all of their worldly possessions in a pillow case?
These kids and these lists break my heart in so many ways.
I wish we had more so that we could do more.
I wish we could take them in.
I wish we could get each and every one of them presents.
I wish we could fix the world so that no child would ever feel unloved or unwanted again.
Because I can't do these things, I launch a five store search for a cd walkman. I make sure that the clothes I buy are warm and cute. I agonize over which gift card, which gift card holder, and then I put more on it than I probably should because I know that little mom can use the extra money more than I can, even as I realize that it's probably such a small part of what she needs.
As the economy continues to take a big dump, need is increasing and have is not.
We are certainly not rich. We still have tight times, have to juggle finances. But we have.
We are so very blessed. Not just by what we have.
We are blessed by what we can share.

1 comment:

Gruppie Girl said...

Sounds like an amazing way to really celebrate Christmas!

Thinking of a kid who is really in need is not something most of us do. Your gesture may really give some little one a beautiful sense of hope.