Time for another Christmas tradition post. As many of you know, Sierra always leaves out a bag of toys and clothes on Christmas Eve for Santa to take away after his visit. He distributes them to kids who need just a little bit extra each year. “Santa” has a pretty difficult time sneaking that bag of goodies out the front door at 2 in the morning, loading it up in his “sleigh” and driving them over to the local donation center, I assure you. I also can assure you that it’s worth it all for her to understand that there will ALWAYS be less fortunate kids out there, and that Christmas cheer should be available to EVERYONE, despite income level.
Hence, our next holiday tradition. Today, after school, after swimming practice, and after yoga class, we made our way to the County Library so Sierra could pick a name off of the locally sponsored Angel Wreath. We do this every single year. She is meticulous about it. She reads through each listing and picks the one she wants. In bigger cities you can find Angel Wreaths or Trees at almost any church, but sometimes a local organization like Big Brothers/Big Sisters will set up in the mall or shopping plaza as well.
Have you ever done this?
If not, I challenge you to do so. It is such a great way to keep the holiday spirit alive in young kids, and at very little cost or effort, especially considering how much money people blow during the shameful orgy of greed known as Black Friday. If you have a child, I think that you should ALWAYS do it.
WHY SHOULD I/MY FAMILY DO THIS?
1) If you live in a small town like we do, there is a great likelihood that you know the recipient of your gift, or your child goes to school with someone on the Angel Wreath list. While the people in this program are kept anonymous, as are their gift purchasers, I like to feel that we are helping someone in our community. After all, it takes a village to raise a child, right? Right. To know that you or your child probably see this kid every single day is both humbling (which is why you pick a name from the tree) and heartening (to know that you have helped).
2) Most Angel Tree recipients ask for necessities like a winter coat or snow boots. While I understand the practicality of such gifts (especially here, where it’s FREEZING most of the year), it is a great thing for you and your child to see. Out of all the things that this unknown child could wish for, the only thing they want is a coat that keeps them warm. I’ll just write that again, shall I (I want it to sink in after all): ALL THEY WANT IS A COAT THAT KEEPS THEM WARM. No toys, no iPhones, no overpriced robotic dinosaurs that will do the Chicken Dance on command. What better example for you and your child to see than someone else’s wish list of needs rather than just a wish list of wants.
3) Compassionate children are hard to come by these days. Empathy is a great thing to learn at an early age, and your children will flourish at knowing that they have helped someone in need. They, too, will appreciate that their parents are supportive of such goodwill. Teach your children compassion and empathy for others. Teach them now, or they may never learn it for themselves.
4) Because it’s the Angel Wreath for crying out loud. Buy a needy kid a gift. Keep Christmas alive for kids who have had a harrowing life while they are still too young to do anything about it. For many of these kids, the present you buy will be the only thing waiting for them on Christmas morning.
I guess my question to you is, “Why wouldn’t you do this?”
Do it. Go make a kid’s day.