Friday, December 19, 2008

On the Ninth Day of Christmas, My Sponsor Gave to Me…

Nine Sponsor Letters

“Dear Santa…”

How many millions of letters are written with those opening words each year? From Barbies to Xboxes to “I wish my parents were back together,” letters to Santa reveal the deepest longings in the hearts of our children.

I used to adore writing letters to Santa; in fact, they were a tradition in my household. As a budding writer, I’d spend Christmas Eve penning my masterpieces, which were left on the hearth of our big stone fireplace. And Santa always wrote back, with a funny quip or cute rhyme. Here’s one from 1978: “I’m hungry and sleepy and weary and tired, but if I don’t hurry back to Mrs. Claus, I’ll likely be fired!”

Even after I knew the truth about Santa, the letter writing didn’t stop. Each year it became a contest between my father and me to top each other’s letters. I’d try to come up with some clever premise – sort of like a game of “Stump the Santa.” One year I’d write in the voice of a jaded socialite waiting for a manicure and a facial, the next as an immigrant who didn’t understand who this “Scanty Claws” person was.

On Christmas morning, before I even looked in my stocking, I’d hunt for “Santa’s” reply. There it would be, in my father’s neat, all-caps penmanship. That special communication between my father and me remains one of my most treasured Christmas memories.

Sponsored children are just as excited about receiving letters from their sponsors. I can’t tell you how many sponsored families I’ve visited where a child would pull out a stack of carefully preserved letters to proudly show me.

The children yearn to know their sponsors and truly want to enjoy a personal relationship with them. They’ll crowd around me and ask, “Do you know my sponsor? Can you tell him I said hello?” If you’ve ever worried that the children don’t understand the connection between the benefits they receive and the sponsor who is providing them, have no fear. They know…and they care.

So if you’re wanting to do something special for your child without spending any money, the answer is simple: write him or her a letter. You’ll find more information and writing tips here. I guess it will make your child's day (or month...or year!) to hear from you.

Posted on behalf of Gretchen Dellett.

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