When his first Christmas rolled around, Luca was all of five months old. We, the new parents, were stupidly excited about sharing the special day with our firstborn.
Guess who still believes in Santa
We bought this child so many presents that we ran out of daylight hours, I repeat, there were not enough hours in the (Christmas) day, to open them all.
But in the midst of frenzied present-buying, I began to think about those kids whose Christmas Day might be altogether too long, full of time to open presents they wouldn't be receiving. Becoming a mother has made me hyper-aware of how lucky my family is and I very often find myself troubled about those families who are not so fortunate.
I am sure I had heard of The Kmart Wishing Tree before but the year I became a mum was also the same year I decided to actually participate.
The idea is to buy a gift, grab a tag stating the gender and age group it's for and then place it under the tree at your closest Kmart (you can giftwrap it if you want but know that volunteers rewrap everything because – and I seriously can not believe this – people fuckwits used to wrap up bricks).
Putting out of mind the brick thing which just depresses me more than I can say, The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is an amazing initiative and last year, together with The Salvation Army, it distributed more than 461,000 gifts to families in need.
That year and every one since, I have enjoyed buying a few gifts to donate knowing that I will never see firsthand the impact that my simple act will have on a little person's life. But it thrills me nonetheless.
This year, I will be involving the kids in the purchase of those gifts because I want them to be aware of their extreme good fortune and to build a sense of community spirit in helping those who have less.
Last year, I asked one of the staff members at Kmart whether there was an age group that received less gift donations than others and not surprisingly, it was the adults. So this year, I am also going to add a gift for a mum. I'm not quite sure what to choose. It's hard enough to pick something for an adult you know really well let alone pick something that might appeal to a woman you've never met. Do you think a giftcard is the best way to go? It's impersonal but then, if you don't have much, maybe choosing your own gift would be quite nice. Or would they end up spending it on someone else anyway?
If you have a suggestion, let me know. I really want to get this right.
Do you take part in any of the Christmas gift appeals? Do you involve your kids?
Little things. We can all find a way to make a difference.
I love the idea of buying for a mum/dad. I think that a gift card would get spent on the kids and not on the parent, at least that seems to happen here!
Yep, that’s what I was thinking, too, Bronnie. Hmm, what to buy then?
I think the gift card is a great idea, but maybe put it along side something like a nice pair of gloves or lotion or something like that. Let’s face it, a lot of mums would spend the gift card on the kids instead of themselves.
or even buying for the older kids on the tree, I notice a lot of the time people go for the younger ones or babies, i guess easier to buy for. It is a great idea, and my daughter gets so spoilt that I always feel it is great to give to someone who will not be as lucky. When we used to live in Sydney at the preschool they used to take in a present teach the kids the importance and then work them across the road to the salvation army, so the kids could learn about what the presents were for.
Hi Angie. I was just reading your article and the following paragraph struck me ‘This year, I will be involving the kids in the purchase of those gifts because I want them to be aware of their extreme good fortune and to build a sense of community spirit in helping those who have less.’ Like you, building a sense of community spirit in helping those who have less is important to me … so important in fact that I started a new business this year called Santa’s Little Elves (we write letters from Santa that also encourage and invite children to get involved in giving and helping others). I hate to toot my own horn, but I just wanted to mention it, as it’s a fun and unique way to get kids involved in helping those who have less (totally bias, of course!).