Does anyone remember the Sears Wish Book? When I was a kid, I would look through this glorious catalogue with my pad of paper, pencil and calculator (so I could see how much this would cost me if I was to buy all the items – and I always included the tax…nerd alert!) and I would make my very detailed list. Now I know that I was not going to receive anywhere near the amount of toys that I have written on my list…but better to be safe than sorry. So I included everything! List in hand; I would give it to my Mom (with prices) then make another list for Santa (without prices). I wanted to cover all my bases. Then I would wait and wait until the big day. Finally on Christmas morn, I would wake up and discover that Santa Claus had left the presents unwrapped at the end of our beds. (what’s your tradition?) I don’t know how he did it without waking us up, but he did! I only remember a few of the toys received, like the most beautiful doll crib ever that I coveted one year. What I do remember, though, and can still feel it today, is that sense of surprise and wonderment as I had awoken to mother lode of toys. Actually, we had very little growing up, so it was probably only a few items, but it seemed like a brief case full of gold to me! You know the one where you open it up and the angels are singing in the background and the bright light is shining from out of the briefcase?
Then we grow up. As adults, we don’t always get to have that sense of surprise and awe at the holidays, but we can always remember back to when we were a child. And with the generosity of the community, businesses and organizations in Elgin, many parents, who have hit some hard luck, will now be able to give their own children some cherished Christmas memories. It’s not about the toys. It’s about being a kid.
According to the Christmas song…it’s “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”…Some, in recent days however, would beg to differ. With the economic downfall that has taken so many victim, it is a stressful time of year for those who want to create a memorable, magical and cherished Christmas for their children and others around them.
But Elgin is a giving town, and it really shows at this time of year! For example…Thanks to Elgin’s Community Crisis Center’s Annual Toy Giveaway, it will not be a “Blue Christmas” for many that thought otherwise. For at least the last decade, the Toy Giveaway has been held at the Hemmens Cultural Center, and on the day of the event, people are lined up and around the building waiting patiently to pick up some new toys for under their Christmas Tree. Some parents have lost jobs, while others have suffered a variety of misfortunes, which will not allow them to even purchase the necessities for their families, let alone toys! However, for years the Crisis Center has been playing Santa and has been bringing “Joy to the World” by giving a helpful hand to parents in creating some treasured memories for their little ones.I have been witness to other organizations and businesses that have been very generous this holiday season. Topnotch Tattoos at 216 E. Chicago Street, Elgin, promoted their “Toys for Tats” campaign where every customer that brings in $20 worth of new toys receives a $50 Topnotch gift certificate. I walked past their storefront today and the front windows are packed with toys! Customers have until “The Night Before Christmas” to donate.
Even at the YWCA Elgin I have had the privilege of seeing community members and local businesses donating new toys, coats, gift cards and such, so that the kids at the YW could receive something on Christmas morning. Too many of these kids don’t receive anything at the holidays, but now, they will think, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”!
The list can go on and on with examples! I am really proud to be witness to such generosity, and not just at the holiday’s, but all year round, so much so that I want to, “Go Tell it on a Mountain”! And, now as I sit here writing my second-to-the-last BocaJump for 2011, I am feeling that sense of joy and wonderment just thinking about the giving spirit – what the season is about – of this Elgin Community. This holiday, whatever your influence may be, I wish for you that memory of surprise, awe, light and wonderment to guide you into the New Year. Merry, Merry!