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On Being Santa Claus

>> Monday, December 7, 2009

I spent my entire weekend shopping:  Regional Market, grocery store, natural food store, big mall, outlet mall, another mall, Target, toy store...   Aside from the food it was all holiday-related.  I'm not generally a big holiday shopper, so I think I've kind of overdosed on "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "White Christmas" and all the other cheezy Christmas carols they've been piping into the stores since October.

Most of our shopping this weekend was for an "adopted" family in need.  This year my husband and I decided to adopt a family that can't afford much for Christmas through an organization called PEACE, Inc.  We have no kids of our own, and our thought was that we'd feel way better getting things for people who need them, rather than getting ourselves things we don't need and feeling guilty about it later.  

I figured it would be gratifying.  What I did not realize was how unbelievably fun it would be to do the shopping, despite 47 versions of Rudolph, half of which were sung in piercing child or Alvin and the Chipmunks voices.

Our adopted family has 3 little girls ages 3, 4, and 5.  All we got was ages, sizes, and brief wish lists.  Reading through the girls' lists, we realized quickly that we would be shopping for extremely girlie girls.  Their requests included the following:

Barbie dolls
Barbie car
Barbie accessories
baby dolls
baby doll clothes
baby doll accessories
tea set
play dishes
My Best Friend dolls  (It turns out My Best Friend dolls look to my unpracticed eye much like Barbies only are sold out everyplace.)

I felt a little out of my league looking at that list.  I may have been a girl once, but I swear I was never that much of a girl!  I can only imagine the amount of pink in that household.

We bought them a number of the requested toys.  Of course, we got each of the kids things they need, too, including warm coats, mittens, pajamas, and winter clothing.  We - ah - added to their pink collection a fair bit.  It turns out it's hard to find girls' clothing that isn't pink.  Here's hoping they really do like it.  We bought the adults a few gifts from their wish lists, too.  Here's the total haul:

You should see how many boxes that equates to.  I'm not sure how we're going to stuff them all back into the car for transport to the drop-off location.

I used to have to drag my poor husband shopping for clothes for my niece and was worried this would be the same.   Instead, he was adorably excited about this shopping.  I suspect it probably has to do with memories of his own Christmases as a kid - some years there wasn't much to go around. 

We agonized over the clothing and the toys, wanting to make sure each kid got the same amount and quality of everything.  People at the outlet mall were particularly helpful and kind.  We inevitably had to ask the sales associates for advice on sizes, and when they found out what we were doing they concocted mixes of coupons and discounts to help us out.  We still spent a small fortune.  I can't believe how expensive it is to manage a fairly modest Christmas for three kids, even with a lot of bargain shopping!

I also can't believe how long it takes to wrap all that.  I've spent three hours on it thus far, and have probably a quarter of it left.  There are kinks in my spine that may never come out from crouching over boxes and paper and bows for that long.  At least I can play non-shopping-mall Christmas carols that I like while I'm wrapping.

I guess I have new-found respect for my parents - Christmas is a lot of work.

I think we shall make this a Christmas tradition.  For the first time in years I feel like there's a real point to the holiday.  I just might have gotten more out of this than the family we adopted.


Ellen Rathbone December 7, 2009 at 11:55 AM  

How wonderfully generous and thoughtful to adopt a family. You've earned some good karma for this!

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