How You Should Celebrate Christmas

Although our inexperience may show, we were a very enthusiastic group of Christmas carolers last Thursday, during our visit to the children’s ward.

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img_6625When our bus left OSC, on the way to the Maharagama hospital, it was filled with christmas spirit, complete with a tree, santa costume, green and red balloons, and a plethora of shiny presents. While our Christmas caroling at the ward was rather spontaneous, all the other details were planned meticulously in advance, right down to the color coded gifts according to age. We wanted to make this celebration as meaningful as possible, and that meant maximizing our time and resources.In fact, this year, Santa visited the children, as well as the parents at the ward – after all, they deserve to feel appreciated as well. A Christmas celebration with the children is something our service does every year, but that doesn’t mean we don’t put new thought and effort into the plans.

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Next to cake and chasing their balloons around the room, decorating the Christmas tree was the most popular activity of the evening. The tree was constantly surrounded by small feet, and tugged at my multiple hands – it was exactly what Christmas should be like.

Christmas with the Kids

On the 10th of December 2015, Christmas magic was taking place at OSC. In a corner of the library filled with holiday cheer, the members of Hope for Kids could be found wrapping presents for the children they normally visited on Thursday afternoons. I was one of these members and I thought it was the best service meeting we had that semester.

Having planned Christmas at the hospital a few weeks earlier, the presents and the wrapping paper were already bought and all that was left to do was wrap them up for the kids to tear open. Not being a skilled wrapper of gifts, this was a learning experience for me as, after the first few presents, I really got into the flow of it and found it to be surprisingly fun.

One reason for my enjoyment of gift wrapping was due to the kids themselves. While wrapping up each gift, I imagined the fun the kids would have unwrapping them, joy they really deserved for all their bravery facing the odds against them. Another reason why I really enjoyed this meeting was because it was a great bonding experience for all the members of the service, since we ended up sprawled around the library talking while wrapping up the gifts.

Right before we left for the day, Miss Tanuja, the teacher in charge of our service, decorated christmas cards to attach to the presents. Maya, another member of Hope For Kids, and I then wished them a Merry Christmas in Sinhala on the cards.

Given all the fun I had wrapping up the gifts, I was very excited for the next service day, right before winter break, when we would give the presents to the kids. Unfortunately, I turned out to be very sick that week, and couldn’t make it to the hospital. I was very disappointed, but thinking back on it, I feel it was just as important to help out with wrapping the presents as it ended up bringing the kids happiness.

After the winter break, I talked to the other members of Hope for Kids about how the gift giving went. My friends all said that it was a really nice evening where they visited all the kids and the caretakers at the hospital to reward them for all their hard work and bravery.

Although I didn’t get to celebrate Christmas with the kids I’ve been getting to know over the past semester, I’m glad I still got to contribute to their enjoyment of it.