So this year, instead of getting gifts for each other, Matt and I decided to adopt a family through the Don Bosco Holiday Friends program. We both pretty much buy whatever we need for ourselves throught the year, and he surprisingly shares my stance on Christmas, so it just worked out perfectly for us!
I filled out the application online and we waited anxiously for a phone call...which took at least a week. But we got our family: a single mother who is barely making ends meet (her husband is in jail), and her two sons, ages 11 and 13. We got a little profile on them and a list of things they "needed" and things they just "wanted." The need column really shocked us. They NEEDED socks, underwear, pajama pants, warm hat/gloves, a warm coat... And the wants were mp3 players for the boys, and some pots, pans and bath towels for the mom. The recommended amount to spend per person was $50, but come on. How can you not get them everything on their list!? :)
So we went to Wal-Mart the week before Christmas...and got every single thing they needed - and almost everything they wanted. (One of the boys wanted boxing gloves, and we couldn't find those.) Shopping for our family was so much fun! We were so excited picking out different items for each of them...and thinking about the whole family unwrapping them all on Christmas morning! We definitely filled up a cart (and his trunk) with goodies for them!
I'm not going to lie, I think we hooked it up for our family this Christmas! Each person had 7 wrapped presents when it was all said and done. We even had fun wrapping them (and they looked pretty good, if I do say so myself)!
Each family member had their own color and style of wrapping paper. The mom had the striped paper in the front and white tissue paper in the gift bags. One boy had blue and the other had green, so they could easily tell which present was for which person.
One of the cool things about the Holiday Friends program is that you can be as involved or uninvolved as you want to be. Matt and I both really wanted to deliver the gifts ourselves and meet the family. We even called the mom before hand a couple of times to ask about some of the things on their list. However, if that's not something you want to do, you can just buy what you want off the list, drop the gifts off at the Bosco Center, and they will take care of the rest.
|Loaded up and ready for delivery!|
Getting to meet our family and actually deliver the gifts ourselves...and see the excitement and greatfullness in our families eyes...was just priceless. They had a little tree in the corner of their family room...and not one present underneath it. As we kept bringing in more and more presents, the mom just stood there in shock with her hands on her head, saying, "Too much! Too much!" (She didn't speak much English.) It was just SO fun to be a part of making their Christmas a little brighter. Matt and I both agreed we got WAY more enjoyment out of that than we would out of any store bought sweater (or whatever we would have picked out for each other). And we now have our first Christmas tradition together! We definitely will be doing this every year!
Oh, and to top it off, the mom made us a big bag of amazing homemade tamales - which we ate that night and again for lunch the next day! I forgot to get pictures of them, but I called her and we're going back for more next week!
Dinner was at Grand Street Cafe...
...and dessert (plus champagne) at The Melting Pot!
And lastly...the whole family at my house on Christmas Eve!