Written by Kirsten Frey, Transitions Life Coaching
Over the last few years Christmas has taken on a different meaning. In the early years it was all about the kids…my son and nephews. It was about creating a magical experience for them. The squeals of excitement for Santa having arrived and all the colourfully wrapped presents being delightfully torn into. This was followed by outdoor tobagganing and snowman making and then back inside to play with all the new games and toys while Christmas dinner was prepared.
Now, as a family, we have simplified. The holiday is less about the receiving and more about the sharing of time, connection and enjoying each other and I am so grateful for this.
Not everyone is as fortunate so when an opportunity arose to volunteer for the Holiday Helpers Organization I jumped in.
Holiday Helpers brings Christmas joy to families in need. It is a registered charity that provides a one-time customized Christmas package to families with young children, who are living in low income situations. Each sponsored family receives an artificial tree, decorations, a gift card to a warm meal and presents from their personalized wish list. The goal this year is to help 700 families. It’s heartbreaking to realize that this many families need assistance.
The call went out for volunteers to help with wrapping at one of the local locations. I donned my best ugly Christmas sweater and arrived with at least 60 other people on a Saturday morning to wrap presents. I was AMAZED to see all the donations! Everything was so well organized in boxes for every family and each family member received several items from their wish list, including the adults. Looking around I began to appreciate just how many people it took to make this a successful endeavour. From the volunteers who called each family to find out what the needs and wishes were, to all the donations and sponsors, to the warehouse staff who organized and sorted, to the wrappers to make sure everyone had something festive to open, to the folks who loaded trucks and delivered all the presents. Community coming together. It reminded me of the Grinch whose heart swells three times the size with the spirit of Christmas. I could feel the expansion of my own heart, being with all these people with the same goal…to bring a little comfort and joy.
For the next three hours I rolled up my sleeves and happily wrapped along with a couple who brought their three children, ages 13, 11, and 9 years old to volunteer. At the table next to us were six girls who go to the local University and it was a hoot to see how much fun they were having together as we shared tape and ribbon. At the end of our shift my table had wrapped presents for five families. One of them a single parent home with five girls, who are new to our country. We cleaned up our table of all the wrapping odds and ends to make room for the next shift coming in. I left that morning, imagining the excitement and delight all those children will have, knowing that Santa had come for them.
If you’d like to help out next year, reach out to;
5407 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 201, Toronto