I never really considered myself benevolent to the point of giving away the last morsel of bread in me to those in need, like St. Francis de Assisi, but I still deem myself a thoughtful person. Not because I love the validation and the “thank-yous”, but more so because I just love the feeling of giving something even without the affirmation. However – lest I may be called a hypocrite – I also love to receive a gift or two sometimes, don’t get me wrong there. But it is in giving that I find the most pleasure.
It All Started in the Family
For me it is inherent. Thoughtfulness is nurtured and developed, and because I grew up in a family of unpretentious parents, me being thoughtful is an easy call. I can still vividly remember the past Christmases when my mother had to tirelessly buy gifts to each and every godchild she and my father have over the years – and mind you the numbers would exceed to a hundred. I would help wrap the gifts, which I considered back then my taking part of a noble deed. We are aware that not all godparents really take into heart their status of being second parents, and giving gifts is one of those obligations that are taken for granted. But for Elsa and Celso, they really are serious godparents, and giving a gift to every godchild is then an obligation for them every Christmas. Unfortunately, the gift giving of my parents ceased when godchildren grew up to be adults and a simple gift can no longer suffice.
The First Joy
It all started out as something that is fun to do. 10 years after, it has evolved into something that is beyond fun – although the fun part is still the focal point.
It just happened one day when I decided to throw a post Christmas party to our neighbors’ kids. I thought it would be fun to have a party in our house, and so we invited around 20 or so kids for an afternoon of games, laughter and tons of fun. We only had around 1,000 pesos that time for the party, but in God’s grace, it was all enough to cover for the food, gifts and prizes. I still remember the joy in me, along with my family, when we start calling each kid’s name and give him or her their present for Christmas. Their smiles are contagious and worthy of all the preparation. Beyond doubt, the happiness I felt that moment was unexplainable, and I guess it was the turning point in my life when I decided I would make this event an annual family affair.
Luckily for me, my family has been with me all these years of giving away toys, foods and gifts to less fortunate kids in our neighborhood. My sister, Urle, even had to set aside a part of her allowance when she was in College then only to support my vice every 1st day of the year. But now that she is earning well beyond the necessities, her share has doubled as well.
Ten Years and Counting
And so after ten years, me and my family have been organizing post-Christmas parties to kids within our community every January 1. Along the years, the event has been upgrading from the meager 1,000 budget to a bigger amount only to augment the increase in prices of commodities, and also to accommodate as many kids as we could possibly can.
We prepare foods, prizes for fun games and of course, the main event, which is the gift giving. Our policy, no child will ever go home empty handed. From infants to as old as 13, every kid will go home knowing that he or she is loved, even with just a simple gift wrapped in paper.
|Urle and Memet helping out with the gift wrapping|
|the kids getting ready for the party 2008|
|the simple gifts|
|The Sharing of the Food|
|The Kids Opening their Gifts|
Flores de Mayo
The spirit of giving was contagious because Urle has found her own advocacy apart from the Christmas Party we throw every year. She has been feeding kids every month of May for 2 years now while they are having their Flores de Mayo teachings. And because she found out that happiness in this certain kind is ingenuous, she has pledged to continue her feeding frenzy for the years to come – or until she is financially capable of such an endeavor.
Definitely, that one instance of me wanting to have fun have evolved into something grand and it really helped our family to be giving and made our love for each other solid all these years. This simple undertaking for me has an ultimate agenda, and that is to teach my son and Urle’s kids the value of giving. What I learned from my parents about self-effacing ways, I ‘am trying to teach to my son as well. Kids need to learn about the value of giving within the family, and by so doing, this yearly Christmas party will be an ultimate testimonial to them.
If we have more than enough to take care of our needs, then it is time to provide others their simple joys as well. If giving a toy to a kid for Christmas will make all the year’s hard work all worthwhile, then I don’t see that this simple endeavor will cease. So long as I have my family by my side, smiling and laughing as we are having the greatest fun of our lives partying with the kids.
Since we are passed the 10th year, me and Urle decided to give a notch higher on how we will actually spend this Christmas Family Affair. Hoping that we can provide more than the toys and the gifts for the kids.
One, we hope to include the senior citizens, or those who are abandoned by their families and are lonesome in their twilight years. Giving them gifts and a little fun and excitement for their holiday season wont be too bad . . .
Two, beyond the meager amount, we hope to provide bigger gifts and more lavish food for them to share and enjoy. Now in this time, we hope to solicit from good-hearted friends who are willing to share their blessing with less-fortunate kids and the elderly.
Three, we hope to upgrade the location to Malasag, Cugman. In this time, we need the coordination of the Zone Chairman to help us in inviting the kids and the elderly to join the simple affair we hope to share with them.
Keep in Touch
For those who are interested to take part in this Christmas Family Affair, feel free to leave a comment, or perhaps contact me or Urle. We will be providing pictures and videos of the event to highlight this grand endeavor we hope to successfully implement.
Merry Christmas all!