This year for Christmas I wanted to GIVE more. I organized Ryan’s family party and hosted so that I could have the whole family participate in the Sub for Santa program. Instead of giving gifts to the cousins, we would give our gifts to families in need. I asked for 6 children, so that each family could give to one child. The united way asked us to provide two clothing items, a toy and a book for each child. We were assigned two families, one with four kids, and one with two kids. We chose the 3 year old from the Brazilian family, since Ryan could call and talk to them on the phone better than us English speakers. When we had the family party, everyone brought their presents for their assigned child. Originally the mom of the four kids had asked that the presents not be wrapped, but then after everyone had already dropped off the presents, changed her mind. So Natalie and I had a little wrapping fest.
Yesterday was delivery day. We packed all the presents into big black garbage bags and hauled them to the car. Both families were in Provo, so we set out to deliver. We went to the first family. Not wanting to overwhelm them with all of us going in, Ryan and Cole took the gifts. Without giving away too much information, it was a family of 6, with two tween kids and two teenagers, one of whom is autistic. The dad is disabled. They live in a small dingy condo in Provo. This was maybe the only Christmas they were going to get. I am sure they are going to enjoy the skateboards, clothes, and microscope sets, among other things.
When they delivered the gifts, the family was oh so appreciative, and gave us a wonderful thank you card and a plate of yummy sugar cookies. It made us feel so great. Really, I wished the whole family could experience the joy with us, but when I asked if any of them wanted to deliver the gifts, no one wanted to. I wished we could have done more, actually. We didn’t get anything for the parents–that was not required, but we kind of felt like they should get something, too. Before we went to the second family, Ryan suggested we go and pick up a ham. So the whole family traipsed through Maceys grocery store and picked out a ham for the next family. It was quite weird shopping with the whole family, let me tell you. We also got an extra coloring book and crayons, for our little 3 year old. Then we went to Wymount to find this family. As the kids came up the steps, they invited us all in. “‘Come, sit down,” they asked us, and so we did. We ended up talking to this family for about 1/2 an hour. They had sent their little girl with a friend, and their baby was sleeping, so we didn’t get to meet the kids. They are a little family from Brazil who are here while Dad completes the MBA program at BYU. He is here on scholarship and a generous grant, which as long as he serves in the LDS church and goes back to Brazil when he is finished with his degree, he won’t have to pay back the loan. He speaks English very well, but his wife only understands a little bit of English. Ryan did quite well keeping up. His Portugese is still quite good (much better than my German skills). They were so gracious and thankful, and it was a wonderful experience. They also gave us some treats and a picture that the girls had colored.
As we were leaving, the kids were talking about how fun that was, and that we FOR SURE had to do this again next year! I’m sure we will do this again. If the extended family does not want to do it, maybe we’ll sponsor a family with only one or two kids by ourselves next year.
It’s such a great reminder that Christmas isn’t about receiving. It’s about the giving. It’s about remembering and celebrating the birth of our Savior, in Bethlehem in a stable so many years ago.