This year for the first time I am participating in the Santa Shoebox Project - a wonderful, wonderful initiative whereby children (through their parents) give a shoebox filled with goodies to a child less fortunate than themselves. The project hopes to gift 100,000 boxes to underprivileged kids across SA.
Each shoebox should be decorated nicely and has to contain the following items:
- Tooth paste and tooth brush
- Wash cloth and a bar of soap
- An outfit of clothing
- Something educational / for school
- A toy
- Some sweets
- And of course anything extra you choose to include
The project has a great website (http://www.santashoebox.co.za/) that tells you exactly how to pledge a box and how to pack the box.
The website says:
Although making a box for a 3 year old girl tugs at the heartstrings, it is often our teenagers who are in most need of your act of kindness.
In our experience, the teenage boys are the very last ones to be selected off the website and in reality - they are the ones who have probably had the hardest life and never have received anything like a Santa Shoebox before. Please include them in your selection.
So obviously I had to pick three teenagers! Two boys and a girl.
I have bought all the goodies for the boxes and the next step is to decorate the boxes, I am so excited. I might actually do another three. It made me so sad to think that for some children getting a gift box with tooth paste and soap was something special, but that is the reality of the extreme poverty we have in our country.
I was telling the twins about the project and how we would each be giving a child a special gift box. They are very aware that there are plenty of people in this country who are far less fortunate than they are. Adam in particular gets very heart-sore about the plight of the underprivileged.
I said to them "Do you know, some poor children don't even get anything for Christmas, not a single thing, which is why we are going to give something special to them".
"Why?" asks Adam.
"Why are we giving a gift box to the children?" I reply
"No, why wouldn't Father Christmas give those poor children any presents?" he says.
OMG! Why! Why wouldn't he?? The selfish bastard! (I am really looking quite forward to the children realizing that Father Christmas is actually me. Sans the beard but with a slightly protruding belly and a splattering of grey hair).
I was completely stumped. What answer is good enough to explain why that jolly old chap in a red suit would be such a selfish asshole as not to give a single gift to the poor children who had it so tough already.
I stuttered and stammered and the best I could do was "um, I am not actually sure, I have no idea why". I really was at a total loss.
Adam thought for a moment and then said "Maybe it is because they are so poor that they don't have any paper or pens and so they can't write up their letter for Father Christmas and so he doesn't know what to bring them".
I agreed with him that could be a possible reason and that I would see if I could find out more.
Help! What should I have said? What would you have said the reason was why Father Christmas would not bring a gift for the poor children?
(For now, telling him that Father Christmas isn't real isn't an option. They have so few years in which to enjoy the fantasty of Father Christmas, I want to let it last as long as I can. Kate already came home recently and said "Mom, guess what M said in class today, she said Father Christmas doesn't exist". I replied that people believe different things and that although M's family don't believe in Father Christmas, we do. So the end of the fairytale is coming soon. It would be nice to get one more Christmas out of it, for their sake. Even though the whole charade is damn hard work)
PS If you can, please consider pledging a box on behalf of your children to the children who Father Christmas has forgotten. Click over to the Santa Shoebox Project website, it is a great website (well done to whoever built it) http://www.santashoebox.co.za/