By Shari Fenn, Content Contributor
The Magic of Christmas Foothills, a local charity, is proving not all elves come from the North Pole.
This heart-inspired charity has elves working day and night bringing the magic of Christmas to life in Black Diamond, High River, Okotoks and Turner Valley.
Delivering the Christmas spirit
The Magic of Christmas is a not-for-profit charity focused on delivering the Christmas Spirit by sharing laughter, songs, hugs, gifts and necessities to people who really need it.
The elves go to homes with Santa Claus on a special Christmas bus and bring cheer to those in need on December 17.
There are many people in our communities that need support
Among Santa’s helpers is elf Donna from Okotoks.
“There are many people in our communities who need support at this time of year for a number of different reasons, including financial issues, job loss, recent divorce or death of a loved one,” says elf Donna.
“At the point of need is where the Magic of Christmas comes in,” adds Donna. “This is what the magic is all about.”
How they bring the holiday cheer
The elves go into homes and bring wrapped presents, baking, gift certificates and so many other special gifts.
“We visit so many people in our four communities – people who are alone in the world, facing difficulties,” says elf Donna.
“It is hard to put into words the power of love that touches the hearts of so many people who are experiencing brokenness, isolation or financial hardships,” explains elf Donna.
Some families without a Christmas tree will have the elves arrive with fully decorated trees.
According to elf Donna, she has seen many miracles through the program:
- tears of joy from the person who was terminally ill
- a long hug from a senior citizen who lives alone
- shouts of joy from little children whose parents cannot afford Christmas presents and a tree
- a sigh of relief from a single Mother who didn’t want her children disappointed on Christmas morning
“I remember years ago in -35 degree weather, one little boy in his flannel pajamas was so excited when the bus pulled up, he was jumping up and down, behind a frosted screen door,” says elf Donna.
Donna loves watching little noses pressed up to windows awaiting Santa’s arrival.
“It’s quite a sight to see Santa get out of the bus with a big red bag and his elves scurrying close behind carrying gifts, treats and a boom box playing Christmas music as they sing carols,” says elf Donna.
A history of community support
The Magic of Christmas Foothills has been running for 20 years and it touches the lives of hundreds of families and single people in the southern communities of the Calgary Region every year.
There is also a Magic of Christmas program running in Calgary which started in 1983. It began as a Calgary family’s initiative to fill buses with gifts.
Today, it’s a heart-warming story of continued support from local businesses, families, not-for-profit organizations and newspapers.
Volunteers and donors are the foundation
What really makes the program work are the hundreds of donors and volunteers giving their time or donating new unwrapped toys, personal necessities or money for things such as gift cards.
One woman personally bakes cookies for every home. Yes, every home!!
“Students from one of the local schools fill hundreds of backpacks with winter clothing, toiletries, toys, books and candy,” explains elf Donna.
In the workshop, there are plenty of elves who separate mountains of donations by age and gender. It’s the hidden work of elves with big hearts.
The Christmas bus will be visiting homes on Saturday, December 17
This year, the program will visit 110 homes (about 400 people) in Okotoks, Black Diamond, Turner Valley and High River.
Individuals and families are recommended by doctors, teachers and other sources.
They are contacted beforehand to determine their circumstances and family makeup.
It is not too late to make a cash donation.
The money can still be put on gift cards for people in need.
If you would like to make a financial donation and be part of the miracle, call 403-651-7850, or visit their website for details for an online payment or for mailing in a cheque.
All donations should be made out to “The Magic of Christmas Foothills.”
Donations of $20 or more will receive a 2016 official tax receipt at the end of the campaign.
No matter how busy we are in this season, it is good to know the magic of Christmas is real.
Thank you elves and donors.
Shari Fenn is a Canadian storyteller, inbound content writer and owner of Cross Communications Inc.
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