Even Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch would have found it impossible to maintain their yuletide antipathy if they had stopped in at Santa’s Gift House, presented by JATC in Branson on Saturday, December 13th and in Forsyth on December 16th. Although the vast array of craft items available for purchase (for 50¢ each) was impressive, by far the most engaging feature of these events was a series of priceless comments from the children who came to shop and some little miracles.
One boy was so impressed with the rag dolls that he wanted to “tell the lady who made them how awesome they are!” She wasn’t present but after he chose one for his sister he asked the volunteer helping him shop to be sure to tell the maker how special they were. A little girl told her volunteer shopper that she was buying presents with her “sparkle” money—two dollars from the tooth fairy (and covered with glittering fairy dust to ensure that it was authentic!) A seven-year old boy picked out his four gifts and was ready to check out when he saw a birdhouse and declared, “I have to have that!” His other gifts were already wrapped and labeled but he was so convincing that he left with five items. One little girl was awestruck by the fact that “the real Santa Claus came to MY church!”
Santa’s Gift House is designed to promote the spirit of giving by enabling children to shop without a parent and purchase gift items for their family members. But the generosity the project hopes to inspire obviously doesn’t stop there. Two sisters went to the cashier to pay for their gifts and each put out $4.00 instead of $2.00. They said they wanted to give the extra to a child who might not have the money to shop. Another brother and sister also donated an extra $2.00 in case another child needed it. And while one particularly polite and friendly youngster named James was talking with Santa, his grandmother mentioned to the volunteer shopper that she had been trying to save enough to purchase a bike for James for Christmas but was only up to $40 for the $70 bike. When the volunteer mentioned this to several of the others, one JA member said, “I have a $25 gift card”. Another said, “Here’s $4.00 I just found in the pocket of this apron!” $6.00 more was quickly collected and the grandmother left with enough to give her special grandson a special gift on Christmas.
It’s a magical time of year, and all of the members of Junior Auxiliary of Taney County wish you and your family the particular joy that comes from giving, sharing and helping one another. Merry Christmas!