I did it!!! I got to partner with a brand I love to make dreams come true for two children. And the best part? I involved my sweet, compassionate daughter and this experience will be a tradition we do every year from now on.
My assignment: take a loaded Kohl’s card and buy for a child (or two). I could not type my affirmative reply fast enough to join. You see, when I was a child, I received so many Christmas gifts from Angel Tree programs. I remember living as a child without eating out at restaurants, without buying new clothes at stores, wrapping birthday gifts for friends in home made wrapping paper out of paper bags from the store that I colored and painted. We lived frugally out of lack of expendable income. Trips to the food pantry were a part of my life. I don’t remember feeling ashamed or embarrassed. That is just how my normal was. And my normal meant Christmas gifts were rarely from my parents. Somehow, that made them even more special to me. Growing up in my Christian home meant we didn’t believe in Santa, but it also meant my mom taught me how there was good and kindness in the world. In fact, I remember when my mom scrimped and saved every dime she could one year so she could pool her money with another friend and buy a family $100 worth of groceries.
Those Christmases I remember the joy and elation as I opened gifts I knew we could never have received otherwise – Barbies and new dresses and warm new shoes for the winter. Every time I think back to these Christmas mornings, I still feel it. That knowing that there are kind, empathetic people in the world that share and give.
After school, I picked up Lizzie and announced we were on our way to the local shelter. I explained that there is a tree inside with ornaments on it. Inside the ornament is a wish list, from children whose mommies and daddies don’t have enough money to buy them Christmas gifts. I’ll admit, it was difficult to explain to my very non-needy child what it is like to just not have things.
We pulled up, got out and she picked two ornaments off the tree. One for a boy and one for a girl – both her age. I reminded her about the real Saint Nicholas, how he started to leave gifts for poor children in the winter. She was excited about reading what was on these lists and acting like Santa Clause!
I wanted to spend this time with her, just her and I, so we drove the 45 minutes to our closest Kohl’s. I do wish I hadn’t rushed to do the trip and instead gone online to see what is available there first – because there is always so much more available online! Plus, that would have made my shopping trip go by with so much less confusion. We entered the store and I was impressed with how many toys and pajamas and gift ideas there were!
The little 7 year old boy was a Ninja Turtles Fan. We found a wall full of pajamas and picked out some PJs in his size! He also had Hot Wheels on his wish list so we bought him a huge race track and some extra cars. I also picked up Melissa & Doug felt food for him. It was like a scavenger hunt as we looked at the list and searched the toy section for the items.
Then we went to the girl’s section and Lizzie picked out a bunch of pretty hair bands, clips and fancy bows. I also bought underwear and socks for this girl and online there were snow pants (free shipping too!). And then we browsed the toy section for the girl’s wish list.
This is where the trip became a learning experience. Lizzie didn’t ever ask for anything for herself, she kept asking “mommy, what else is on their list?” But as we were paying for it all and she saw the gifts for this girl that had the same interests and was the same size as herself, she started to want them too. And she told me on the drive home, “Mommy, I wish I could have that stuff too.”
“But do you realize that this little boy and girl need you and I to buy their Christmas gifts? That without our help, this ornament might stay on the tree and they might wake up without any gifts?” I replied, hoping to to share some perspective.
My sympathetic daughter didn’t miss a beat. “Yes mommy. I know. And I’m so happy we are helping them! Can you please at least write these things down on my wishlist for Grandma?”
Thank you Kohl’s for helping make Christmas come true for two children we will never meet. And thank you for starting a new tradition that will continue every year for my family. We are going to go shopping for at least two children every year, and keep the spirit of giving alive!
Please, if you have a few moments this Christmas, find your local Angel Tree or a family to adopt. Continue to give and spread light this Christmas! You never know how much that will mean to the children and the family.
I want to leave you with the experience as told by my daughter Lizzie.
And please check out these other Bloggers as they share their experience #GivingWithKohls!
- SouthernSavers – shopped for a teenage girl