Although we don't officially celebrate Christmas, maybe Chrismakah (a combination of Christmas and Hanukkah), I can see how important the holiday is to so many people. So, R and I try to help out by sponsoring a family in need. It's a nice way to make a small difference in someone's life and actually see the people who are receiving the gifts. It makes the process of giving more personal than something like online donations.
This year, we were paired with a young single mom with two kids (a 5 year old girl and a 6 year old boy). I called the mom up a couple of weeks before Christmas to see what her kids would like to receive. I could tell from the sound of her voice that she was around my age, if not a few years younger. I can't imagine raising two young kids on my own, so both R and I felt really good about being able to help her.
Luckily, I had a great present for the little girl, a doll that Giz had in an unopened box (don't know why). For the mom, I was happy to share some of the mounds of creams that Giz has given to me. Plus, Giz donated an angel and bracelet. We picked up some K'Nex for the little boy (man...Lego is expensive) and gift certificates for the movie theatre. Plus, when talking about the family with some friends of ours, they generously wanted to drop off a couple of gifts for the kids.
In this program, the focus is actually on food, specifically donating Christmas dinner. I know that the requirements are really only to bring groceries for dinner. But, what's Christmas without the sweets?
I filled a tin with sweets I had made. The first layer consisted of a couple of Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and Strawberry Oatmeal Squares (I used Giz's Homemade Strawberry Jam).
The second layer was Puppy Chow. In fact, you probably make some version of it yourself and call it something else. So good.
For the top layer, I used up the rest of the infamous sugar cookies with some festive sprinkles.
I added a couple of cookies I bought at the French bakery:
Overall, the experience was very good. Though, I left with a heavy heart. When going into the woman's apartment, the kids ran up to meet us at the door and gave us some cute homemade cards saying thank you and merry Christmas. They quickly found the tin full of sweets and grabbed a cookie each. The mother seemed appreciative. But, it was very obvious that she was high and the place reeked of pot. I'm open-minded about that stuff, but not when it comes being around kids. It's not fair that they should have to be surrounded by drugs and that their (maybe) sole caregiver is stoned. I'd have to assume that it's a regular thing, otherwise why smoke when you're expecting someone who is donating food and gifts to you?
Still, the experience was generally positive. Knowing that the kids have presents to open for Christmas and a full Christmas dinner is reason enough to do it again.
Happy holidays everyone!