When was the last time you experienced immense joy from making other people happy?
The last five years, I celebrated Christmas in Bangkok. I still remember spending my first Christmas away from home by working because Thailand does not consider it a holiday. My colleague was kind enough to understand that I must have been missing home so she played Christmas songs from her old portable radio. It just made me burst to tears.
Last December, I decided to go home for the holidays. But I must have been away for way too long that I started to ask myself, how does Christmas feel? Holding my warm cup of coffee and listening to the sound of the wind chimes, I reminisced my childhood Christmas memories; the surprise upon waking up to see bundles of gifts which my mother convincingly said were from Santa Clause; the fun-filled games I played with my cousins; the apples and candies hanged on the Christmas tree; that’s how Christmas was like for a child that was me.
Then my thoughts went to the thousands of children who may not have had the chance to open a gift during Christmas; children who were deprived of the experiences I was blessed with. Then and there it hit me, I knew what I needed to do for Christmas.
I immediately informed my Hilot family about my plan of organizing a kid’s party for Christmas. Blessed with a loving and generous family, my siblings and cousins from across the world responded pledging their support and financial assistance. On Christmas day, we gathered about fifty kids in the chapel. Not all these kids are less privileged but regardless of what they have or don’t have, they deserve to have a childhood where they can play together and enjoy each other’s company.
And of course Santa Clause is part of the celebration so our cousins dressed up as Santa and went around distributing sweets.
We also gave away two dozens of slippers to kids who need them most. The following day, one of the kid’s mom told us that his son kept his new slippers near the altar because he was scared that it will be stolen outside or the dog will play with it. Awwwwww (sniffs)
We organized various games. We also let some kids showcase their talents so that they will grow up confident. It is important for children to feel that their abilities are recognized. I was thrilled when my cousin’s daughter who I thought was a shy girl turned out to be proactive, she even sang Elsa’s Let It Go! Before we ended our little party, the kids gathered to sing “Thank You, Ang Babait Ninyo”.
We managed to give each of the kids a gift. The sight of their happy faces is just priceless. It made me feel guilty that I spend so much on expensive things I don’t really need when happiness is as simple as making other’s happy.
In the evening, I celebrated Christmas with my family. I have so much to be thankful for in life but what I am most thankful for is to have a family who showered me with so much love; a family who taught me that what matters is not money but charity; a family who values truth and fairness over fame and glory.
P.S the chapel is in the process of renovation. Donations will be most welcomed 🙂