Michael (13) writes about Christmas:
My Christmas holiday started at school because I passed my examination very well this semester and I was excited and looked forward to Christmas day.
At home, I went to a party at Lagos Motor Boat Club. It is a club of top executives, captains of industries, officers of the armed forces and diplomats - all decision makers from diverse spheres in our country. It was my first time to go to this place, and also my first time attending a party by the waterside. The venue was beautifully decorated and there was lots of fun and entertainment. It was a very beautiful adventure where I not only met several personalities, but I also discovered many things.
I went to the Christian Video Network, which was a long journey - it's located about 150 km from Lagos. When we arrived at the venue, we first sang praises and worship to God. This was followed with a Christian quiz competition and then the dancing competition. The final stage was a Christian film to watch while we were having refreshment.
On the day of Christmas Eve, my family - my SOS mother, Aunty and my siblings - started decorating and cleaning the house. We also decorated our Christmas tree with beautiful lights and tinsels. My brothers, my sisters, my friends and I spent half a day to fabricate paper chains and paper bowls for the decoration of our Christmas tree. It was very beautiful.
On Christmas Day, we cooked varieties of foods like Moyin-Moyin (steamed savoury bean cake), vegetable soup and stew with assorted meat like fried chicken, beef and smoked fish. My uncles and aunties visited us and we ate, drank, danced and rejoiced together. We also received cash gifts from visitors. In the evening of Christmas day, all the children, the mothers and the aunties (SOS family helpers) in the village danced round the village singing Christmas carols.
The Christmas celebration was very interesting and made my holiday a wonderful one.
In this account, Smith (15) writes about the New Year
As the saying goes, "A new year, a new beginning", thanks to God for the great opportunity to see another year.
Many people would like to start a new year with God. I went for a Church Night Vigil Service to pray and seek God's faith for the year 2007. The Church Service took from 10 pm till 3 am. I have to recognise that it was quite long. Sometimes I napped, sometimes I was sleepy, and sometimes I got hungry. But it was an inspiring moment of praise and worship, special songs and prayers to Almighty God asking for a prosperous new year.
1 January 2007 finally became a reality and was a very good day at SOS Children's Village Isolo. There was a new year Carnival celebration in the village. All the youths, children, mothers and aunties (SOS family helpers) were all gorgeously dressed; we sang choruses and danced to the tune of the drums.
After the carnival, my brother Toyin organised a small party and set up the speakers. We played music for a dancing competition. The most interesting part was the children's dancing competition as prizes were given to the best dancer. Unfortunately I didn't win anything, even though I know that I danced well. At the close of the party the mother representative gave a vote of thanks to all the children and youths.
Indeed, the New Year celebration at the village was very exciting and I hope to witness and celebrate another year.
Christmas without parents
By Julia (14), Venezuela
Once upon a time, there was a family of ten brothers and sisters living in a small town. The kids lived alone because their parents had abandoned them and it was the first year they were going to spend Christmas without them. After months, they still asked about the reason that forced their parents, or motivated them, to take such a cruel decision.
In the meantime, they managed to survive on their own, thanks to the mature character of the two elder sisters, who had taken on the responsibility to care for the younger siblings. Some kind-hearted neighbours also supported them when needed.
For months, they had prayed for their parents coming back, until Christmas Eve arrived. That night, they were alone and terribly sad. Their friends were at home, celebrating the birth of Jesus together with their parents. For their friends, it was a different, beautiful night.
That night, however, all of a sudden, the children heard a strange, soft, and rather weak knock at their door. It was like someone sick was knocking. So, running to the door, maybe hoping for the presence of their parents, they opened it and … well … it was a neighbour, an old woman that lived across the street.
She was very sad. Her children were all married and had practically abandoned her since they had left home. The husband had passed away and she lived completely alone since then.
Although the kids felt very sad, because it were not their parents knocking at the door, they felt better knowing that there was someone who needed them and, at the same time, cared for them. The woman decided to visit the kids because she knew they were alone. So, no more words were necessary: there was a mutual need for companion.
The night moved from sorrow into happiness. The woman prepared a little dinner while the kids engaged in making, with their own hands, some little presents for their unique guest. After Baby Jesus was born and after enjoying, for a little while, the mutual companion, the old woman told the kids slowly: "Look! Many people in this world suffer because of loneliness… but God is a perfect father and does not abandon his children. That's why we are here, together."
After that night, everything changed: the woman naturally took on the role of a mother and the kids, the role of her children. She is not alone anymore and the kids love her a lot. They care for each other and, since then, they have spent several Christmas Eve celebrations together as a family.
Where does Father Christmas come from?
This is our version. Written by Jenny (14) and Noralbis (14) from Venezuela.
Once upon a time, there was a man called Don Simon. He married a woman known as Luisa. They had a child who unfortunately died just seven months old. Don Simon wanted to have another child, but Dona Luisa was unable to have any more children.
In his disappointment Don Simon decided to build a small toy factory, with the hope of receiving God's blessing - maybe one day he would have another child.
Yet something strange occurred: his products turned out to be awful. His toys looked ugly - even he could see it. One day, whilst walking through the streets in the centre of town, he came across an old friend - a dwarf called Luis.
"Hi! How are you? I haven't seen you for a long time", said Don Simon, greeting Luis.
"A pleasure to meet you again, Don Simon... But, to tell you the truth, I haven't been feeling well lately", replied Luis.
As they were close old friends, Don Simon promised to help him to get better. After a few weeks, the dwarf had completely recovered from his pains. So, acknowledging the support of Don Simon, the dwarf offered to make toys for him.
The results were amazing. Luis really knew how to make toys. The problem was that Don Simon did not sell them - he gave them to poor children free, hoping to receive a blessing. He had soon run out of money and had to stop production. He ended up poor as well as sad.
Then, when he found out about the couple's problem, Luis decided to do something else for them. He travelled to his hometown at the North Pole and convinced his friends, who were expert toy makers, to support Don Simon and his wife.
When Luis and his friends came back to town, they found that Don Simon and his wife were living on the streets. Their house had been taken repossessed and they hardly had anything to eat.
Shortly afterwards, the dwarfs took the couple to live with them at the North Pole, where they built a little house for them. There, Don Simon realised that the dwarfs were expert toy makers and loved doing it. So, one day, a great idea came into his mind: to give toys to children in need during the night of Christmas Eve. The dwarfs produced lots of toys, then used flying sledges and deers as a means of transport, so that the toys could be delivered to the children quickly. From then on, he was known as Santa Claus, and although he couldn't have another child, he was happy to be closer to his dead son by making so many other children in the world happy.