Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Santa doesn't come to every house

The Asociación Cultural y Casa de los Inmigrantes César Vallejo collected Christmas wishes from poor childern in Montevideo and looked for donors to help. El Pais ran an article on the unmet requests a few days before Christmas.

We called the agency and read a few of the kids' letters. One note said,"Mr. Papa Noel, This year I have been good. Would it be possible to bring me a doll?" And another said, "Dear Papa Noel: I would like a soccer ball because I like sports very much and a pair of sneakers." We did a little shopping and delivered gifts directly to a few kids on Christmas eve. They were delighted.

Living in the US, I've been fortunate to have never been in the situation where I couldn't buy a gift for my own children. (Our problem tends to be the opposite: we have so many things we can't store them all.) Economists may argue that direct gift-giving is inefficient & that a cash transfer would be more efficient, but writing a check doesn't make the same emotional connection. I was really touched seeing these kids.

It's made me think differently about the holiday season. For instance, while I love electronic gadgets, after visiting these poor children I can't read this high-tech wish list without a touch of queasiness.

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Feeding kids is the greatest High
Ive ever had!
You are so right about giving is better than receiving, especially when you put things into perspective. Unfortunately in this season, we often forget about what is REALLY important. Thanks for the reminder.
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