What fun. I went Christmas shopping today. Sorta.
Two days ago, a woman posted a message on the "Our Compassion" web site. "Our Compassion" is like Facebook for Compassion sponsors, except not as well organized and oh so agonizingly slow! But it has been a good source of suggestions for things to send to our sponsored children, and pictures from the various centers around the world.
Compassion makes things very visible and easy to see what the centers are like. Also, a great way to just share happiness and frustration with other sponsors.
So this woman posted to Our Compassion that she is going to the Philippines and she said she was taking an extra empty suitcase and offered to take as many small packages for our kids as she could carry (one package per family, of course!)
Because of customs 'n' confusion, sponsors can only send their kids things made of paper, no bigger than 8-1/2 x 11 and no thicker than 1/4" thick. This leaves a lot of leeway, but still sometimes you'd like to send something other than paper, so when other sponsors are taking trips to the country where your sponsored child lives and offer to carry packages for people, well...it's like Christmas shopping!
Fred isn't one of my sponsored kids, which means that I don't pay for his monthly support, but he is a correspondence kid, which means that his real sponsor (it could either be a busy person, or a corporation that decided to take him on -- I don't know), since letters are such an important part of their program, they get a volunteer to write to the child.
Since I'm a writer, I volunteered to take a child (and now am correspondence sponsor to about 4 of the kids, I think). Fred was the first. The great thing about Fred is that his mother speaks English and writes the letters for him, so they don't go through a translator. Also, she sesems to like writing as much as I do, so I have received more letters from/about Fred than any other child. It's great. I know him better than any of the other children and, inevitably, he has become my favorite. In fact, he's the reason I don't sponsor more children--if Fred's sponsor decides he/she can't continue, I can afford (barely) ONE more child and I'm saving that slot for Fred. Just in case.
So when I learned I could send him something NOT made of paper, I was very happy.
I wanted something from Davis, so I went to the UCD bookstore and bought two t-shirts, one a UCD shirt, with a Peanuts theme...
...and one of our famous "Hamburger Patty," the symbol of Davis.
(They had a contest to name this famous bike-riding cow, who used to wander around events in Davis. The winner of the contest was Richard Brunelle, music teacher at the high school, who came up with the name Hamburger Patty. You don't see a lot of Patty any more and when I checked her out on the Davis Wiki, she doesn't even appear! I suspect newcomers to Davis don't know that she ever existed.)
Anyway, I also got a little UCD bear for Fred's sister, and a silver keyring for his mother (I wanted something better, but they didn't have any Davis-themed jewelry).
It was a good start and I went to the local Dollar Store to fill out the rest. I bought marking pens, some candy (Jelly Bellies, which are made near here), some little metal cars, and then came home and filled my gallon bag. There was room to stick other stuff, so I went through my stash of stuff to send to the Compassion kids and added some more things, including some things my dentist gave me from her supply of kid gifts, none of which I could have sent because they were made of foam. But they could go into my plastic bag.
Now I just have to get a flat rate box to stick it in and get it in the mail. I am very excited about Fred getting this stuff and being able to send him something other than coloring book pages and stickers!
And since the Mayans (and apparently Nostradamus) say that the world is going to end on December 21, this may be the only Christmas shopping I get to do. :)