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The meaning of Christmas

At Children's Villages everywhere, Christmas means family!
At Children's Villages everywhere, Christmas means family!

What does Christmas mean to you? Is it a time for reflection and contemplation – or would you rather turn up the music and gorge yourself on mince pies?! For many, Christmas means family – and nowhere is this more true than at Children's Villages around the world.

Travel with us to our Children's Villages in Central and South America to find out what Christmas means for three SOS families – and discover why burning the cake isn't necessarily a bad thing!

Burnt cakes and babies: “The best present ever”

SOS Children's Village Penonomé, Panama

This SOS family are playing a game together at the Children's Village in Penonomé, Panama
Nicolasa plays Christmas games with her SOS
family at the Children's Village in Penonomé

After twenty years as an SOS mother, Nicolasa considers herself an expert in bringing festive joy to the household. However, as any mum will tell you, not everything always goes according to plan...

“One Christmas Eve I decided to make a cake for my children, but I cooked it to rags and it ended up being a gigantic crispy cookie.” However, all was not lost, as Nicolasa found when she served it to the family. “Guess what? The children loved it! To them, it was the best Christmas present ever!”

Reassuring words for any Christmas chef daunted by the prospect of cooking for all those people on the big day!

So a burnt cake may have turned out to be the children's favourite present, but what is Nicolasa's best gift to date?

“I love all my children – their faces, their smiles – but I always wanted to have a baby [in] the house,” says Nicolasa. Eleven years after becoming an SOS mother, and Nicolasa had never had a baby in the family. Then, in December 2002 – just in time for Christmas – little Samuelito joined the family, and Nicolasa's dream came true. “Samuelito was... the best Christmas present ever for my family!”

To Nicolasa, Christmas means a growing family!

Coming home for Christmas: Spending time with mum

SOS Children's Village Cochabamba, Bolivia

Running free at the Children's Village in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Samuel's family keep active all year round at 
the SOS Village in Cochabamba

Every Christmas, Samuel returns with his wife and their little boy to visit the Children's Village where he grew up. “When I arrive to the Village, the first thing I do is to look for my mother,” says Samuel.

Samuel was one-and-a-half when he first came to the Children's Village in Cochabamba. Years later, he is a successful entrepreneur running a construction company. Despite the passage of time and a busy career, his SOS mother remains a very special person in his life. “Several years have passed since I left the Village, but I still keep on visiting my mother.”

Returning to the Village brings back many memories. “Another thing I remember is my pets... We liked to have ducks, chickens, pigs... Our mother liked to have all types of animals, and they were bred in the backyard. I loved my animals! ... We had a couple of sheep... Their names were the Shepherd and the Shepherdess. They were naughty, because they liked to eat the roses [in] the Village!”

Samuel slips straight back into family life. He likes to catch up with his SOS brothers and sisters, and meet the latest additions to the family. “The kids are also waiting for me. They know I am the eldest brother, so when I see them I asked them how they are. I asked them whether they are behaving well at school, at home, and so on.”

Most of all, he likes being with his mum. “I help my mum to set the last Christmas ornaments. The Baby Jesus crib is set, the Christmas tree is there with many... lights, and the small children sing and dance Christmas carols until... midnight. Finally, we exchange presents. I begin this ceremony because I am the eldest brother!”

To Samuel, Christmas means seeing his mum!

What's for lunch at SOS Jamaica?

SOS Children's Village Stony Hill, Jamaica

Two smiling girls at the Children's Village in Stony Hill, Jamaica
With no chewy turkey or soggy sprouts, Jamaican Christmas fare is
sure to bring smiles to every face at Stony Hill this year!

Are you a turkey guzzler or does the thought of soggy sprouts make your heart sink? If turkey dinner's not your thing, maybe you'd be happier dining with Samantha and the other children at House 2, Stony Hill.

“My first Christmas season at the SOS Children's Village was wonderful!” says Samantha. “We... decorated the house with pepper-lights and Christmas decorations... After we had completed our decorations, Kerri-Ann, Kassandra, Aunti Hazel, Auntie Leonie and I prepared Christmas dinner.”

And what was on the menu?

“We prepared potato salad, pork, baked chicken, rice and peas, and other vegetables. We also had sorrel drink and we all had a feast on Christmas day!”

To Samantha, Christmas means a new home – and delicious food!

What does Christmas mean to you?

Christmas is all things to all people. If for you, Christmas is a time to touch the lives of others, then why not give the unique gift of child sponsorship this year?

This way, you can make a loved one smile for years to come and help transform the life of a vulnerable child. Find out more.