Things that make me cry …

I really love the idea of Santa’s Shoebox Project.

It is such a great initiative.  It means at the end of the day, that thousands of kids are going to get a present at Xmas time – when ordinarily they wouldn’t receive anything.

I am not a big Christmas freak, and I find it way over commercialized.  It is more about “what did you get” than the essence of the day, which to me is about spending time with family and friends and remembering what you are grateful for.

However if you are a child and poor, and do not get any presents, it must be pretty bleak.  I think if I was that child, it would make me feel that I was unloved and no one cared about me.

I really like the campaign, and I signed up.  I decided to do five boxes. One box from each member of our family.

I aimed for kids who were close to the ages of my kids, and ended up with Christopher – 5 (Georgia’s age) , Elizabeth  – 6 (always loved the name Elizabeth), Melanie – 3 (Kennith’s sister’s name is Melanie), Tori – 3 (there were no kids younger to match to Isabelle) and Caleb -7 (close to Connor’s age, and Connor was nearly a Caleb or a Callum).

The entire process was very slick and well done.  I popped along to the site, which is dead easy and ran well.  I capture my details, selected a child from a drop down menu and off you go.

They send you a pdf tag with the child’s name and a list of the type of things you should include in the parcel.  I think because you “choose” the child and the tag is sent to you with the child’s details, you start to feel emotionally connected and make the box with a bit more interest.


The problem is – I am a procrastinator of note.  I only did all my shopping yesterday in a mad rush to get the boxes done as tomorrow is the last drop off day in Cape Town.

I went off to the shops with “my” children’s list and purchased things I assumed were appropriate.  At some point I forgot I was meant to put this into a shoebox, and started buying stuff that I thought any kid would want. I really tried to buy what I thought my kids would enjoy, rather than what would be “okay for a needy kid.”

When I got back to the office, I toyed with leaving the decorating and stuffing of the boxes until I got home, but then I realised that would be chaos, so I opted instead to abuse company resources and just do it on my light table.

Before long I had three people coming along to help decorate and pack the boxes.  It really was great!

I must confess I get a lump in my throat just thinking about these poor kids who were going to get this shoebox.  And this was maybe the highlight to their Christmas day, and everything we pack into that box with be their own special thing.

Of course guilt made me buy way too much, and I think I might have shot over the mark slightly.  But three strong elastics can pretty much close any box it seems.

Kennith was great and also bought Cape Union Mart juice bottles for each child, and some really cool torch/light things which we gave to the older kids.  I also got two dictionaries from work, which I included in the two older kid’s boxes.

At the end of it I was really pleased I had done it – and the boxes all had some really nice things in it (industrial strength elastics keeping the lids on and all).  Kennith went to drop them off this morning at the drop off point.

I cry when I go to Build-a-Bear.  It is just something that makes me cry – it is probably when they put the heart inside the bear, but it could be all of it, I really have a good old snot cry whenever I think of it.

But, Santa’s Shoebox Project makes me cry too, so I am adding that to the list.

On the upside, we decided next year that each department at work, would sponsor a child/children next year and I think that would be nice!  I know this campaign is only a drop in the ocean, if you compare what needs to be done, and how much poverty, and despair is out there, but this is one small thing that will make a child smile this year.

Merry Christmas to Christopher , Elizabeth, Melanie, Tori and Caleb.  I hope your tummies are full, and you have someone to hug you close and you enjoy your presents!

Leave a comment


  1. Lollipop

     /  October 29, 2010

    Also dropped off my boxes yesterday! Felt like I was in Santa’s Factory (albeit Santa’s Modern Workshop)as there were real live elves running around, scanning in boxes and making sure that they are getting to the right place, Santa (Irene-the brains behind the outfit) was on the cell taking orders and making sure that there will be plenty of smiles for this Christmas. Can’t describe the feeling I got when I walked in there, so amazing to see that so many people opened up their hearts.
    Also went way overboard, but as you said, nothing industrial strength rubber bands can’t hold together!

    • reluctantmom

       /  October 29, 2010

      Totally, Kennith went to drop the boxes off for me, and he also said there were full sized trucks dropping off stuff – it was quite a sight.

  2. Didi

     /  October 28, 2010

    I have been shedding tears about this project for about 2 weeks, being pregnant and hormonal does not help. It’s just a great gesture of hope to those little faces, I’ll be thinking of my two little ‘children’ on christmas day. I’m just thankful to be able to contribute to this project.

    • reluctantmom

       /  October 28, 2010

      I know what you mean …. my heart gets all spongy and my face gets all wet ….. and I don’t think I am hormonal because I am pregnant!

  3. Nisey

     /  October 28, 2010

    We’ve stolen the idea and our MAD cows are doing shoeboxes and a christmas party for a local rural school. Its amazing how good it feels to give back.

    • reluctantmom

       /  October 28, 2010

      Definitely. I often get overwhelmed by the fact that there is just so much wrong, and you think what can I do to change it – and you probably can’t, but it is really maybe a case of doing one thing for one person that might just change that person’s day/life.

  4. Mandi Earl

     /  October 28, 2010

    Hi there!
    Just finished shopping for mine and had so much fun! Although, quite difficult to shop for toys small enough to fit in a shoebox!

    Anyhow, got it all done and am so chuffed that I can bring a smile to two little extra faces this Christmas! Next year I will definitely take on more children.

    Hope you and the family are well!



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