I remember the feeling well. It was panic, or fear, or sadness or really all of them combined. I was a mommy to a little boy who was going to wake up Christmas morning with nothing from Santa. Sure he would be spoiled by grandparents and his aunt, I was sure of that. But that did nothing to ease the pain I was feeling those weeks before Christmas that Santa was just not going to be showing up at his home. My heart broke for my little guy. I had no idea what I would do.
Christmas for me as a child was magical. My sister and I would sleep in the same room and try with everything we had to stay up and hear Santa. It never worked. Our living room was closed off by doors, so when we came bounding down the stairs in the morning, we could see nothing. We would sit and wait quite impatiently for my grandparents to come down and for the doors to be flung open and for my grandpa to say
“Looks like the old boy made it”
My mom always took great care to set up Santa gifts. If we got doll clothes, the doll was dressed in them and they were set out as if Santa had just pulled them from his sack. Santa gifts were never wrapped. You could almost smell the magic in the air. We loved it. I wanted it for my child. I wanted him to experience the magic of Christmas.
It’s hard to describe how it feels to think about your child never experiencing that. Now I get it, I know what you are all thinking and I agree to an extent. Christmas isn’t about the gifts. It’s not! I love to give and see people receive and I love spending time with my family… but there is a pain that comes with knowing your small child won’t encounter the magic of Christmas morning like you did as a child. I felt like somehow I was letting him down.
That’s the place my heart was in and no one knew it but me. That is until my boss at the time, Denisse, pulled me aside and told me she and her friends wanted to adopt a family for Christmas, and they had chosen me.
I was flabbergasted and humbled and in tears as I realized I just might be able to give my son the Christmas I had hoped for. See, I was a single mom at the time and I was making minimum wage. I could barely put food on the table, let alone spend money on Christmas. I didn’t feel like I deserved it, I felt like there were definitely other families worse off than I was. All that being said, I put my pride aside and counted it as a HUGE blessing. My son woke up to the best Christmas ever, and while I doubt he remembers a thing he received that year, it changed something inside of me.
I was chosen to receive this gift a second year as well, and that year I promised myself something.
Someday, I would find a way to repay the gift. I would find some way to do the same thing for someone else. To take the blessing that Denisse gave me and pass it on to someone else. It became a huge desire of mine. I had no idea if I would ever be able to keep my word, but I was going to try.
This past year has been life changing for me in so many ways. I am so lucky to have a husband who supports every dream my heart has. I told him how important it was for me to give back, and he made that happen. This year, I participated in adopting a family of my very own with my team at work. We wrapped presents today and ate pizza and chatted and I barely realized the magnitude of what we had done until it was complete. I stood back and looked over all the gifts and I thought
“This is it, this is going to be magical for them. This mama doesn’t have to worry about the magic this year.”
I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to be able to do that for someone. To give a gift that was given to me years ago. Denisse changed my life that day, and her gift in turn changed someone else’s life today.
You see, it isn’t about the gifts. It’s about loving someone well. It’s about saying
“I don’t know you, but I know where you are, and I’m going to meet you there and bring the magic along.”
Thank you Denisse, and thank you to my sweet husband for allowing me to give back.
“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas …perhaps… means a little bit more”
Happy Holidays everyone! May it be as magical for you as it is for me.