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Christmas is a magical time for children. We try to make it so for those living in the institutions we support by organizing Christmas parties -- complete with Santa in full array. Although Santa is a relative newcomer to Italian culture, having been introduced in the 1940's, he quickly became the beloved figure known to our children.

Preparation for the parties begins months in advance when the names and ages of all the children are placed on a Giving Tree and circulated to our membership. Since choosing gifts requires understanding what each child would like, our own children often give us suggestions. We pay special attention that no child seems to receive more than another for they always look at each other's gifts. Many of them receive only the gifts we give.

A festive event should always include sweet treats so we bring homemade cookies and cakes. An edible gingerbread house topped with a colorful, candied roof is also a special enticement.

To complete the party we organize games, Christmas story-book readings, performances, music and face painting and Girl Scouts from our member-led activity group often give a hand with the entertainment. All combined we hope it makes merry and magic moments for the children.