Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My Kid

No -- no startling new revelations here.

I'm talking about my Angel Tree kid.

Our local DHS office puts up two Angel Trees at two different businesses in town. Each tree is covered with the gift requests of needy children in our county. Back in more flush times you'd also find requests from older teens and adults; in the last couple of years, because of our tanking local economy, and because shoppers are less likely to buy gifts for other adults, you just see the kids' requests. And the wish lists have changed too; a lot fewer items, as if the children were coached by their caseworker to keep their requests modest.

One Angel Tree contains tags with just a number, an age and a wish; you purchase the items the kid wants and take them to the service desk. The other Angel Tree includes the kids' first names on the tags, and asks that the presents be wrapped.

So, anyhow, I randomly pulled off a tag on the second tree, the more personalized tree, and found that I had picked a six-year-old girl with a lovely, unusual name that I will not use here; I'll call her Leila instead. And the first thing, the most important thing, that I noticed about Leila was that she had no special request for a Christmas present. Someone had noted that she needed some clothes; you know a six-year-old didn't request those. But no wishes for the Hot Toy Du Jour or toys or books or the other things that kids tend to want. Nothing. Nada.

It could be that Leila is disabled in some way and lives in a twilight world without wishes other than basic human comforts. But it could also be that Leila is simply a sad little girl with no expectations at Christmastime. And frankly I don't know which alternative breaks my heart more.

When I was six, I spent much of November compiling long, detailed wish lists from Sears, Penney's and Monkey Ward, the old trinity of Christmas catalogs. Not that I always got what I wanted, mind you -- the primary object of my holiday desire from toddlerhood to puberty, which was never fulfilled, was a science kit with a microscope; a topic that is still a somewhat sensitive one around the LutheranChik household -- but I always got something; and I always got enough to fuel my hopes for another year.

What do you buy a little kid who can't imagine getting a Christmas present?


LutherHen said...

If you're looking for real suggestions, I'd say a baby doll.(Target usually has some that come with accessories, or you can get seperate accessory packs.) If you're asking in a more figurative sense, I don't think there's anything you can BUY...

Just pray-- and get her a doll. It'll give her something to hold on to, literally and figuratively.

Gene said...

Only possibly problem with dolls is race. You may know or be able to guess, but around here, I wouldn't have the foggiest. A local family homeless shelter (Raphael House) where I used to volunteer specifically asks for dolls of various races because there's a mixture of families going through.

I don't have an alternative suggestion, except maybe a stuffed animal of some sort. Particularly something plush and huggable.

I can definitely relate to going through the Sears catalog as child. The "wish book" or whatever it was called, the special catalog that came out at Christmas was always a favorite read.

Nicodemia said...

I was going to say a cuddly toy - small enough to hug, big enough not to get lost.

When my daughter was 6 years old, she had to have a big operation on her legs. I found her, alone, on a trolley (?gurney to you?) in plaster. After the hugs and kisses I asked her if there was anything she wanted from home.

"My big furry rabbit" she said. A toy she had never taken much notice of before, but after that it never left her! He lost his ears, his fur got worn, and he looked the worse for wear in the end. But oh! was he loved!!

He was about 10" high, and not too firmly stuffed, so he bent, if you see what I mean!

Songbird said...

American Girl makes a very sweet baby doll age appropriate for children even younger than 6. You could give a fab present *and* make a political statement! Take a look at Bitty Baby, who does come in various skin tones.

Keli said...

Oh LC, get her something plush, cuddly, not too big. Warm and very very huggable. I have a 6 year old, and believe me, when he's tired, all he really wants are one of his best furry friends and his blanket.

see-through faith said...

I'd buy her a book - something she can read and read and read. I wouldn't have thought of a doll - but why not. I think I'd buy a really soft pale coloured rabbit -something that she could call her own. But one thing that just came to mind - and not as a main present - would be wonderful coloured tights (not pantyhose) assuming this is somewhere in colder climes. I don't know why that popped into mind, but anyway I'm sure you find exactly the right thing! Are you allowed to put in a little letter - something thats for her - soemthing about her lovely name, something really personal to her.