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.
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.