I’ve struggled to write this because just thinking of it makes me emotional. As a child my favorite holiday memory was a year I knew my parents had no money for gifts. My mom worked tirelessly to hand sew me and my two younger siblings each a gift for Christmas. I’m not sure when the huge basket arrived on our door step but on Christmas morning I expected to wake to only the hand sewn gifts under the tree. Instead we woke to gifts from Santa, more wrapped gifts including books and clothes in each of our sizes PLUS the wonderful hand made gifts my mom made. “Santa” not only left a basket of gifts but a complete holiday dinner. Early that December my mom had told me that Santa wasn’t ‘real’ in hopes I could help soften the disappointment on Christmas morning with my younger siblings. I didn’t want to hear what she had to say because I still whole heartily believed in Santa. Yet on Christmas morning I was able to stand proud in my belief of Santa! I knew Santa was real but NOT because I thought a big guy in a read suit dropped off all these gifts. It was because some amazing people knew we couldn’t afford Christmas so they came together and made our Christmas happen.
Fast forward to this year. This has be the hardest year of my adult life. Every day/week/month seems to bring worse news than the day before. We have dealt with so many things in different areas of our life including; an unjustified home eviction, moving, changing schools, loss of my husband’s job/our only income, me returning to work, lack of work for husband for almost 5 months, debt as far as the eye can see, denial of help from the government, anxiety, depression, counseling for one child, new doctors, small health concerns, new medical denying needed procedures, social struggles at school, and so much more! Maybe 2015 wasn’t our year. Maybe we are just down on our luck. No matter what I’m sure this is all a part of the journey we must travel. This year has certainly strengthened our family unit and our relationship with God.
A little more than a month ago I realized there was no possible way I could give my kids any gifts for Christmas. We keep our Christmas modest with just four gifts per child: a Santa gift, a want, a need, and a read. I decided I would reach out to my friends and family to ask for help. This was difficult and humbling for me to do. In one week just about every item on their list had been bought and money had been given to purchase the remaining items. We had friends give us their gently used clothes to fill some of the “need” items on the list. We had friends reach out to their friends asking for additional help in filling our kids list. Many of these people were strangers to us. They heard our story and wanted to help. I had friends and family reach out to give us meals and buy our groceries. I can’t even begin to name all of the people who have stepped up to help us not just now but over the last six months and even throughout the entire year. The love and support we have received has been absolutely amazing!!
When I say that I believe in Santa it is because I truly do! He may not be the one to place the presents under the tree for my kids but his spirit has shown through so many amazing people in our life this year. Every time someone gave freely without expectation they were spreading joy, love and light in our home!! These people will likely never know how much their acts of kindness have meant to us. A simple ‘thank you’ doesn’t seem like nearly enough for what they have given but it and my friendship is all I have to offer and for them that is enough. On behalf of everyone who has received something from your generosity this year I say THANK YOU! Thank you for being someone’s Santa!