Sep 12 2011

How CFCA projects worldwide celebrate Christmas, part 1

Even though it’s only September, it’s never too early to start thinking about sending your sponsored friend a Christmas card! Because mail can be slow, we recommend scheduling six to eight weeks for a letter to arrive at your friend’s project.

We interviewed several CFCA projects around the world about last year’s Christmas celebrations for sponsored friends and their families. Here are the answers from three projects: Merida, Mexico; Santa Ana, El Salvador; and Bogota, Colombia.

Sponsored children select their own gifts in a CFCA Christmas celebration in Bogota, Colombia

Sponsored friends buy their own gifts during CFCA Christmas celebrations in Bogota, Colombia.

How do you select the types of gifts for sponsored children?

Merida: When Christmas approaches, one thinks about cold days coming. Those lucky enough to live close to family take this time to meet, and those who are not as close spend time with friends. The point is to spend time with those around us.

But while this season fills us with smiles, snow, warm clothing and abundant food, Christmas is a moment of reflection. Christmas is the date when Jesus Christ was born.

Christmas is a moment of humility that fills our hearts, but not with chocolates, stuffed turkey or Christmas carols. We must open our hearts to peace, love, happiness, contentment, and give back for all the blessings we have received.

Santa Ana: Christmas is a season of sharing. By tradition, it is celebrated with family. This is why each community organizes its own celebration. Participating in this are not only the sponsored members but also family members like the mothers and younger siblings, united to the CFCA community.

CFCA Christmas celebration in Merida, Mexico

CFCA Christmas celebrations in Mexico.

Bogota: One of the things that has impacted us most in the sponsorship program is the phrase, ìOffering hope and dignity.î We decided the most appropriate and dignified was for the children to select their gift as a principle of autonomy, liberty and, above all, enjoyment and happiness for them.

We see not only our loved ones, but all those people around us who are part of this great home called CFCA. Christmas is celebrated even amid difficult situations and adverse circumstances.

What gifts did you offer sponsored friends for Christmas 2010?

Merida: We select different types of gifts depending on what the communities ask for. In some areas, we give Christmas food baskets with cookies, sweets for children and additional consumer articles. In other cases, we provide better bedspreads, shoes and clothing.

Sponsored children at CFCA Christmas celebrations in El Salvador

Children prepare presentations at CFCA Christmas celebrations in El Salvador.

In other areas, we organize parties and buy small items for the participants of the dances organized by CFCA scholars. At the end of the events, we serve typical food from their regions.

Santa Ana: Our 2010 Christmas gifts, at the CFCA familiesí suggestions, were as follows. Sponsored friends had the opportunity to share a Christmas celebration and lunch with their families and the community. For the smallest children, we let them play a game.

Our lunches consisted of chicken, rice or bread, and salad. The mothers organized the lunch. The children prepared the presentations of the season, such as the Nativity, dances, skits, etc. Afterwards, they enjoyed dessert, piÒatas and candy.

Bogota: For Christmas 2010, each sponsored friend received a stipend to buy clothing. We have undertaken this activity for three years with excellent results.

The sponsored members enjoy all the clothing they buy. We see an independence in the children, since they select the clothing and items they need. In addition, we see their happiness and emotion while they make their purchases in the store.

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