We shop with the lists we are given by the charity. The child's name. The age and gender. Her hobbies. His favorite show. The Wish-- something like: a doll or Legos or an arts and crafts kit.
The trick is you have to keep it under forty dollars.
Which makes it hard if the wish is a bike or an expensive computer game, but my husband and I take this directive as a challenge. For example, one year a child wanted a winter coat, and decent coats under 40 bucks aren't easy to find, but damn it, we found one. And last year, a little girl wanted a specific brand of doll and none of the Targets and Walmarts we visited had the doll for an African American child. We had to rush deliver it from the company website.
Also, we don't want to buy only one item for these children we shop for. We always buy what they wish, of course, but we try to tuck in a few other odds and ends. Stickers. Mittens. A book.
We like to imagine the kids at the holiday party, lining up when Santa comes, waiting for their names to be called, the packages and bags given out, the moment of anticipation before they tear past the tissue paper, hoping they will open what they wished for.
This year one child will be disappointed. I already know this and I have no idea how to keep it from happening.
We drew the names of three children and we wandered around Target the other day, scooping up wishes for two of the kids. A slime kit. A tablet. This year the challenge-- to keep it under 40 bucks -- was upsetting instead of motivational. The girl who wanted the slime kit also wished for clothes and shoes, but the people who run this particular charity didn't list what size the little girl is. How do you buy clothes and shoes for a kid when you don't know her size?
We bought her a pair of slippers, in addition to the slime kit. The kid who wished for a tablet was pushing the 40 buck limit big time, but we found a doorbuster sale at Microcenter, leaving us with a small cushion to buy a cute winter hat for her too.
We bought a cute hat for the third kid too. The information sheet we've been given has been stuffed in my purse for a few weeks. I am hoping for inspiration, but I know I am not going to get it wandering around Target or at some store's doorbuster sale.
The child is an eleven year old African American girl. Her favorite movie is Beauty and the Beast. She likes to dance. Her favorite cartoon character is Hello Kitty.
She has three wishes:
A safe Christmas
Feed the Homeless
Tell me, please, someone, how we do we make her wish come true.