A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Giving always feels good

Last Thursday we had our annual "Wrap Party", a holiday tradition for my husbands real estate company for many years, where we "adopt" needy families at Christmas through the Viola Blythe Center here in Newark. The agents in the office contribute to the fund, we get our lists of families including names, ages, and wish lists. Then 4 or 5 of us do the actual shopping. Ed and I always shop for at least one family and it's something we look forward to each year. We buy gifts for all family members and also food, including a certificate from Safeway for a full turkey dinner.

Then comes the "Wrap Party". I still remember the first one I went to with Ed back in 1999 and how impressed I was with the energy and the whole concept of the office staff and their families getting together for this project. There is a potluck dinner and always a wide variety of ethnic foods - this year was no exception. We had Russian blini and a cold beet salad, Italian baked ziti, Mexican tamale pie, Egg Rolls, Italian cake, Philipino noodles with shrimp and chicken. The past few years this party has been at our house and, except for the wine incident in 2007, it's been a hoot! Since there's wine with dinner, the actual wrapping portion can get a little noisy, and bows can wind up in strange places, but it is great fun.

A few of the men are sent to the garage to put together the boxes of food for the families. Of course, we have to go out there periodically to make sure they stay on task!

The next day we take all the presents and food to the Center and get to meet the families and help them load their cars. There are always tears. Kids jumping up and down with excitement over their presents. Mom's hugging us. One Mom gave us a Christmas card. Photos are taken and we're all a bit misty-eyed by the time it's over.

Before I retired I wasn't able to be at give-away day, but for the last two years I have and it's so wonderful to be able to make the holidays a bit brighter for these families. I've also been able to bring two of my grandkids, Vika and Eamon, with me and they enjoy it. They talk with the kids, help load stuff in the cars, and it's a great lesson for them about giving. Of course, they also find time to climb the big tree in front of the center between families.

1 comment:

namaste said...

this is a very beautiful tradition you have.

btw, i love that pic of you and ed. and i can't believe how big vika and eamon are getting. time flies.