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      Angel Tree. Where I work at a university, an affiliated program Shore Can, has an Angle Tree. The response is AMAZING.

      Even the students, sororities, departments, as well as individual staff membersgive, and many generously. As that office is within my larger office, I “demand” a girl of about 5. I like that age, had boys, now grown, but with my own “angle” granddaughter.

      Knowing that I’m getting a girl of about that age, allows me to “shop” all year. I often find perfectly good, in the package toys and buy them. I also watch for great or clearance sales and get stuff for that age/gender child.

      When it comes around, I usually have at least one thing requested by the child–toy, and if clothes are requested, something from that. Plus, I usually have a stocking that I’ve stuffed. To ensure the parents get to really play Santa, I provide plenty of wrapping paper and tape.

      That way the parents see the presents and decide if truly acceptable/appropriate. Much is a variety of little things–coloring books, crayons, books to read, crafts for that age, etc. Not only does the Shore Can do it, but many other places, including churches, social agencies, Elks/Moose and the like, etc.

      So, don’t be hesitant to put your children’s names a few requests with these agencies.
      I do have to say, frequently, there are children, 16, 17, and even 18, with wishes that include I-Pods, cell phones, the latest electronic games, etc. While I do appreciate that these are still children, I am a bit, confused, that they or whomever places their wishes don’t understand, that I give because I want to, but honestly, no way could I afford to give such expensive gifts. I don’t begrudge them wanting presents for Christmas, but I do feel that by that age, a sort of grown-up understanding of the MEANING of Christmas should be happening, that itsisn’t about automatically Receiving gifts because it’s a certain day of the year,but about giving.
      Sometimes towards the end, some names will be left, and I will try to do another child.

      Call me a Grinch, but generally I prefer a child who will still experience the “Wonder” of Christmas, over one who sees it as a collection of goodies from strangers. I know I shouldn’t be like that, but I am. If an older child requests more modest items, or things that seem more “needy” than “wanty” I don’t mind buying clothes or personal hygiene items. But, a Wii or cell phone?

      I am not that generous of a person.
      From 2 years ago, the angel tree was easy for the university to fulfill all thechildren, if not all the requests, butlast year I think the numbers doubled or more. I am a bit “afraid” at how “bad” it might be this year. Depending on the needs, I may cut my gifts in half to ensure that at least one more child has something on Christmas Day.
      Gloria

      Gas prices getting you down? Search AOL Autos for fuel-efficient used cars.

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