I was sitting on the gym floor at the end of basketball practice, my coach was telling us about this family that needed some help getting Christmas presents. She went on to tell us that the families house had burned down and they needed simple things like toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, and so on. She asked us if we wanted to adopt the family as a team for Christmas. She told us that we could give any amount to help with the cost of the basic needs the family had asked for.
Immediately when I got home I had to tell my parents of the story of the family who needed my help. Me being sixteen and without a job had no money. But my parents agreed to help out and gave me some cash.
I later found out that a lot of families needed help during the holidays. I had been living in a little bubble just assuming that everyone had Christmas presents to open. I felt so conflicted on the inside. Here I was asking for books, makeup, hair straighteners, clothes, or whatever else a sixteen-year-old asks for, and feeling bummed out that I probably wouldn’t get everything on my list.
What humbled me even further was to learn that one Christmas when I was very young my parents didn’t have enough money to buy me and my brother Christmas presents. But the kindness of their friends made it so my brother and I had presents to open the tree that year. I don’t remember having to wake up and see that Santa had forgotten about me. Christmas still holds a beautiful place in my heart from the kindness of others.
The sixteen-year-old me made me a promise that I would always adopt a kid for Christmas. Seven years later my grandma and I go out and find someone to adopt together. This year we went to the mall and picked a kid off the tree. While everyone was out shopping for loved ones, we were out shopping for a kid that we would never get to see wear the clothes we had picked out or play with the toys we got. We wouldn’t get to see the look on his parents faces on Christmas morning as they got to see what their son got. But it’s totally worth it knowing one less family is needing on the holidays and it took me only an hour or two at the most. It’s a small drop in the bucket for me but a huge splash for the family.
What the sixteen-year-old me felt, and I still feel to this day, is that I got to give someone a beautiful Christmas morning. I get the chance to repay the kindness of the people who made Christmas for me when my parents needed a little help.
This Christmas take a moment to slow down, stop at the tree, maybe grab one of the kids off of it. Maybe you spend just a little extra that day, maybe a kid has gifts to tear open, maybe a kid’s day was made and they don’t even realize it. And maybe one day because you gave to them, when they have a little extra they give to someone, and then no one is needing.
When everyone seems rushed, irritated, tired, put a little joy back into the world by adopting a kid for Christmas.