Our kids love celebrating the holidays. (If we’re being honest, I think some of our staff members love celebrating just as much as our kids!) With everything we’ve faced in the last year, celebrating 2020 as we head into 20212 seemed even more important.
We’re big party kind of people—lots of decorations, big cakes, and lots of people. This year, we wanted to keep our big party excitement even if we couldn’t have all of our friends and family join us.
Step 1: “Operation Letters to Santa”
Our littlest kids were worried. As of the end of November, they hadn’t gone anywhere in months, except for Estela’s trip to the hospital for appendicitis. And no one was interested in another trip like that!
If they couldn’t talk with Santa 🎅 this year, how would he know what they wanted?
Silly as it may be, this was important for our kids. If we couldn’t get to Santa, we needed to at least get letters to him.
“Operation Letters to Santa” kicked into high gear a few weeks before Christmas. With help from a friend, our staff organized everything the kids needed: Santa-approved Christmas lists to decorate, a very special letter collection box, and special treats because everyone loves a good snack.
We’re happy to report that everyone’s letter was safely delivered with plenty of time to spare.
Step 2: A Backyard Christmas Party
Throwing parties is one of the things we do best. This year’s big Christmas party was no different.
Our guest list might have been small, but the festivities were huge. The entire backyard was turned into a Christmas fiesta complete with games, crafts, a photo booth, snacks, and a giant inflatable slide. Who doesn’t want to slide down a huge inflatable slide on a warm, beautiful Guatemala afternoon?!
The party was amazing. Our kids had so much fun and the staff did a great job making sure there were activities that everyone would enjoy, including themselves.
Guess what! The little kids got their wish. Santa Claus made a special visit to Dorie’s Promise for our Christmas party! Not only did he get their special letters, he also came to see our kids. Our little kids were ecstatic.
Step 3: Celebrating Christmas as a Family
On Christmas Eve, we always share a quiet (as quiet it can be with this many kids at Christmas) evening as a family. This year, our Christmas together was even more special and important.
We started the evening with a family devotion and prayer time. Although we can’t go to church yet, we can still read the Christmas story together and talk about God’s promises for us and how he showed up in our lives during the past year. God showed up for us in a multitude of big and little ways this year. Being able to celebrate all together as a family is one of the biggest blessings for us this year.
After our devotion, we enjoyed a special meal together with the Special Mothers. We’re hoping next Christmas all of our staff and their families will be back for Christmas dinner again.
We ended the evening by opening presents together. Throughout the year, our staff pays careful attention to what our children need and what they really want. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, our children also work on small special gifts for each other and our staff. So much in our home is shared by everyone. Seeing our kids open gifts chosen with each of them individually in mind is a highlight for us.
Step 4: Ringing in the New Year with Fireworks
We ended the year in much the same way we started, with a special meal together.
In our home, we are here for each other no matter what. We endured a pandemic together. We learned to social distance and quarantine together. We reimagined our spaces and transformed our home into both a home and a school. We care for each other. We celebrate each other.
We’re looking forward to whatever God has for us in 2021. And yes, there were fireworks on New Year’s because in Guatemala we love to celebrate with fireworks. 🎇🎆