If you are new to this charity event, please read below so that you get a thorough background to what this is all about, how it started and what our goals are. If you have participated before, just skip to the "Gift Giving Guidelines" here to refresh your memory on the procedure.
In 1994, I was getting really tired of buying my entire family gifts that they didn't need and really didn't even appreciate for Christmas. I had seen enough of the young children in the family ripping open one present after another on Christmas morning ‐ not even taking a moment to see what each gift was. Then I began talking with some friends/students about their holiday project. They helped a needy family in the community and were explaining how rewarding it was. So my husband at the time, myself and our 3 year old son 'adopted' a small family at Christmas. It was a single mom, raising a toddler girl who was about the same age as our son. The mom was living with her mother and they had nothing. The little girl had a box that she used to play with a beat up Barbie type doll. No other toys. The week before Christmas, we gave them the food they needed for Christmas dinner, a tree and a few gifts for the girl (wrapped up and hidden from her). My son handed the little girl one of his toys when we delivered the items and they played for a bit.
After coming back and explaining all of this to my fitness classes, the students said they wanted to be a part of it next year. So the following year we adopted a family and showered them with more. Over the years we took on more families and spread more joy. It eventually grew into helping 3 to 4 families, a storage unit and a delivery truck!
Our goal is simple ‐ give young children who believe in the magic of Christmas one absolutely wonderful Christmas that they will never forget their entire lives. A Christmas with stuffed stockings, their favorite foods, a tree to decorate, warm clothes, a bike and more gifts than they have ever seen before. A memory that can never be taken away and real love for impoverished children who may not ever get their emotional needs met. A Christmas that someday they will learn was given to them by total strangers ("Santa"), who did not know them and who will never see them again. People who knew that one act of unconditional love may make a lifelong difference in the path a child may take later. For example, a child gifted in music getting a guitar. Another getting martial arts lessons. Or a child without an arm receiving a prosthetic device. Those are just a few of the things that have been made possible by all of us joining together and giving whatever we can, from the heart.
We, Santa's Elves, are not a huge organization that spreads out every penny to see how far it can go. Quite the opposite. We are just a bunch of feeling people ‐ like you ‐ who unite together with compassion and give whatever we are able to give to a very few. Instead of a turkey for 100 families, we give a few families overwhelming inspiration, faith in humanity and hope for a better tomorrow. Not just for the children but for the adults too. I've seen it change lives. If you take part, you will too.