Sparkling snowmen, twinkling lights, and shiny bulbs on a tree – for some people, the decorations that help make the season merry and bright are an unaffordable luxury.
It’s hard for a parent to have to explain to their children that money is tight and there won’t be much under a tree, but some families in St. John’s can’t afford lights or decorations, or they don’t have a tree at all.
For Natasha Wickham, Christmas is a tough time of year. Her mom died three years ago on Christmas Eve and life has been difficult ever since. The St. John’s woman has four children and tries hard to embrace the magic of the season but, money is tight and after losing her Christmas decorations in a flood earlier this year, she can’t afford to buy new ones.
After seeing her post on social media, looking for decorations so her children could help set the scene for Santa, I went to my crawl space to get some Christmas sparkle to share. I scrolled through the community facebook page, looking for Wickham’s contact and I realized, there were more like her. I did a quick inventory of the crawl space and realized I had plenty of Christmas cheer to spare and I thought others must too.
I contacted a few friends and we started Operation Decoration – a campaign that collects artificial trees and Christmas decorations and donates them to families in need. Natasha Wickham was excited to hear that her children would be able to decorate for Christmas.
“It’s important to give, to show others you care, even if you don’t know them. A donation of decorations would mean a lot to my family, my four children,” Wickham said.
Wickham said in addition to losing her mother, her family is facing other challenges. Her children have medical issues and she struggles to afford the things they need. “It’s been so hard so, having some decorations may make Christmas a bit bright for them.”
The need is great and many families have been in touch looking for items to help set the scene for Santa. We have collected some festive favours but, we could use more. Those boxes in storage are filled with much more than tinsel and twinkling lights – they’re future Christmas memories, childhood wonder and the right, for just one night, to believe in magic.
Operation Decoration will run until December 10. Donations can be dropped off at the Autism Society at 70 Clinch Crescent from Monday-Wednesday between 1-3:30. Or, people can schedule a drop off at our workshop at the Mundy Pond Visitor’s Service Centre on Blackler Avenue.