We have some dear friends who have had more than their fair share of struggles this past year. Besides job issues and money, they've had some marital issues, and some illness, not serious, but plenty of little colds, flus, etc. Anyway, at one point this year the wife posted on Facebook that she wished they had a Christmas tree. (I must insert here that I have a group of five girlfriends from High School that have all stayed close over the past 15 years, and this lady is one of them...we'll call her the Music Maiden.) So Music Maiden posts that she would like a Christmas tree, and someone else posts, "They're only $20 at Target." to which Music Maiden posts,"We can't afford that." That wasn't happy to see. So another one of my dear friends from this group, we'll call her Mama K, emailed us girls and said that this wouldn't do and could we band together and help them out a bit with a tree and a couple presents for their son. She called it "Mission Christmas Tree." Of course, all of us girls said yes and the planning began. I had the bright idea to reach out a bit further and see if we couldn't get donations for the cause and really help them have not only a good Christmas, but a great start to 2011. I talked to the owner of my gym (Trainer Andrew) and asked if we could put a box there with flyers, he agreed that would be ok. I asked the building where Ms. Belly (she's the one who has offered me her belly) and I work if they would circulate flyers, and they did. And I dropped off flyers wherever else I could think, boot camp, WW, you name it.
We had to give those folks some time to matriculate, but in the meantime the girls and I got some cash together and found a tree (from Mama K's Dad) and went shopping. Mama K and another friend went shopping with our dollars and found lots of presents for young Kyle. We all then met up on December 16th at Music Maiden's house, tree and presents in hand. The family was all getting over illness, so we didn't intend to stay long. Eight of us knocked on the door and when it was opened blurted out "Merry Christmas!" Music Maiden's hubby was quite surprised to see us all and we didn't wait for him to invite us in, we just sauntered in and almost ran him over. I heard Music Maiden say, "wait, don't come in! I'm in pajamas!" We didn't really care and pretty soon, the folks in the rear wandered to the front carrying the artificial Christmas tree. Music Maiden couldn't believe what she saw! They were all very excited. We then informed her that we needed her to join us outside for another surprise. She got on some shoes and a sweatshirt and we took her to the car. Mama K had all the unwrapped presents for son Kyle in her trunk and when we opened the truck, Music Maiden burst into tears when we told her they were for Kyle. She was so relieved that her son would have a Christmas. We hadn't wrapped them so she and hubby could enjoy doing that, even bought them paper! Surprise number one, complete!
By this point, donations are starting to pour in and I'm getting really excited. The other members at my gym were constantly bringing in bags of food, presents for Kyle and cash. As the days tugged on, I was bringing home donations every day either from the gym, from the building, or from people seeing the post on Facebook (I had hidden my post from Music Maiden - or so I thought, keep reading). I was overjoyed. One morning when I went to the gym, there was a huge jar of coins in the jar with a hundred dollar bill laying on top! After getting the coins counted, I realized there was $170 in the jar, not including the $100 bill on top! How amazing is that?! I walked out of the gym that day with $320 for the family! So awesome!
At one point, I got a message on Facebook from Music Maiden saying, "You are so sweet to do this for ANOTHER family. How can we help?" (I had posted something about collecting donations on Facebook, and thought I excluded her from seeing it. Ooops, guess not! Had a minor freak out, but since we had already done one gifting to them, she thought it was for someone else and thankfully I hadn't used names, so we were safe there. I tried to tell her that they shouldn't worry about this other family, they needed to think of themselves. Her only reply was, "We may not be able to give money, but we can give help some other way." I convinced her that we would discuss it at the Christmas Potluck. Does this show you how wonderful these people are?) And before I leave this, let me also say that Music Maiden's hubby had done a photo shoot a couple weekends back with all the proceeds going to a family from their church who was trying to adopt, even though they needed money just as bad. They are a great family! And they touch my heart all the time! So back to our story...
Our dining room table at home was getting fuller and fuller by the day! I took to wrapping every night so that I wouldn't have to wrap until midnight later. Finally, it was "Reveal Day." We loaded up the truck with all the presents. It was very full!
like I said, we had a lot of cash donations from far and wide and I put them all in a box, along with the gift cards we received...
She was a bit surprised I think.
Then, we told her that everything left under the tree, was for them as well. She kept saying, "Are you serious? Are you serious?"
And she had this expression...amazement is it?
Anyway, it was a joyous day, but I think the best present I got was this photo the next morning of their pantry...
Isn't that a sight to see? All from donations!!
So this Christmas, I feel like I have seen the Christmas spirit where it was needed. I always try and help someone around Christmas, but I never get to see what it does. The money always goes to a charity, or a church, but I'm never around to see the joy it brings. This year I was and it was awesome. I truly hope these folks don't need this kind of help next year, but it is the spirit of the season and sometimes that gets forgotten. It didn't this year and it won't for a long time. And here's one last photo, that is just too cute not to share.
|Isn't he a cutie?|
And here's Music Maiden and myself (Nikus). Good friends for a lotta years!
Mission Christmas Tree was a grand success and I'll be on a high all 2011 for helping these friends have a better Christmas. I'm so very grateful for all those that donated because we couldn't have done it without any of them and I hear that I have a few late donations to pick up from the gym. I've also received a couple last minute ones in the mail. Thank you again to all those who helped and who reminded me what Christmas is all about! It gets forgotten...but not this year!
Have a wonderful Christmas Bleaders and I hope you all see the Christmas Spirit like I did this year!