Monday, December 12, 2011

Gifts Galore

For five or six years now I've participated in the Emmaus Children's Christmas Gift extravaganza by purchasing gifts for some of the over 1,000-1,500 children that are in the families they serve. The first year, full of first fervor, I actually traveled up and back to our local JCPenneys three or four times--evenings or after work, to find all the items the children wanted (one special item of clothing per child). My fervor was quickly dampened by holiday traffic, elbowing busy shoppers, out of stock colors and sizes and just plain fatigue.

The second, and all subsequent years, I got smart and ordered online--delivery right to my door, free shipping and all. No more going out at night, getting there only to discover unavailable styles and colors. It worked to perfection!

This year's purchases for 40 children were no exception. I am almost done, with the assistance of my 2011 Sister Santa's helper at the Mount who graciously does all the wrapping for me. I'm ready for next weekend's delivery.

My favorite thing to order? Older boy's sneakers! I'm proud that I realized that boys over age 12 won't wear boots...so I buy the best sneakers we can afford knowing that they will be both sneaker and snow boot and might last all winter. My least favorite thing? girls jeans. Every year I am overwhelmed with the variety of jeans for teenage girls and I cannot imagine choosing jeans for any teenager that they would like and actually wear. But, I do it...grimacing at the thoughts of their faces on Christmas when they open their package and say, "I won't wear these, they are so lame."

Nevertheless, this huge project is a wonderful Christmas endeavor for Emmaus and I am grateful to be a small part of it.

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As Mary Oliver's poem last week remarked, our first snow coverage occurred this weekend. Just beautiful.


With the snowfall I made sure my window bird feeder was filled. Ten minutes afterwards lo and behold I spied a bird I had never seen on our grounds, a red-headed woodpecker in the tree right outside our rooms. And, yes, minutes later he came right over to the feeder. What a thrill. He was beautiful. I'll keep trying for a closer shot, should he return.