For many, Christmas is a time to sponsor a child - either as a personal commitment, or as a gift for a loved one. And child sponsorship is a truly special gift; a present that can transform a child's life and make a new sponsor very happy. If you are inspired to help a child at this time of goodwill to all, take out a sponsorship with SOS Children...
Now take a trip with us around the world and find out what Christmas is like in a Children's Village...
The Christmas list
At our Children's Village in Dassa-Zoume in Benin, children are busy writing letters to Father Christmas.
13-year-old Rebecca is fairly certain she deserves the best presents:
Good morning Father Christmas,
How are you? I am very well, thank you!
I am writing this letter to tell you that this year, I would like you to bring me many attractive presents more beautiful than for everybody! Christmas is for all the children in the world, and I dream that this Christmas will be different from the others.
I would like to receive a bike to go through the whole world, dolls, pianos, history books to distract me, and sets of cards. I adore the Christmas celebration, because you come down from the sky with presents which you distribute to the wise and obedient children. I really like Christmas!
Long live Christmas, the season which makes people happy!
Rebecca may be very enthusiastic about Christmas this year, but little Maurille seems concerned for Santa's wellbeing:
How are you up there? How is health? Is everything OK? I would like to be up there with you, but I cannot unfortunately arrive where you live.
And 11-year-old Sidonie has her sights set very high:
Father Christmas, when coming from the sky, I want that you bring me many presents like a piano, a puzzle, a car and a guitar.
SOS Mother Aboudou describes a splendid Christmas meal at our Children's Village in Natitingou, also in Benin:
We eat our big Christmas meal in the community hall around midday. The children sit round the table with the SOS Mothers and all the Village staff, and we're joined by children and families from the community. There's so much entertainment while the children eat - drama, poems and much more. And of course, Father Christmas is there too, giving out presents and spreading the festive cheer. The children are delighted! The celebrations continue into the afternoon, with songs and dancing. Everybody dances - SOS Mothers and children all join in together!
And what of the New Year?
14-year-old Ibrahim has had a tough life. When he was little, his mother died. After a few years, his father simply could not care for him any more. Income from the family farm was getting lower and lower, and, although little Ibrahim urgently needed proper healthcare, his father couldn't afford it. Eventually, he came to our Children's Village in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and he has flourished ever since.
Ibrahim is a hard-working boy, and this year, his New Year's resolution was to excel at school. Today, he is at secondary school - and doing very well - and he is aiming high. He wants to go to SOS Children's International College in Ghana and study to become a doctor. “I want to make my SOS Mother proud.”
What's your resolution?
Could it be to change a life?
And you don't have to worry about giving up half-way through January! Child sponsorship with SOS Children couldn't be easier - with a direct debit, you can be sure that this is one resolution you will see through to the end.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from SOS Children!