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SOS Children's Villages began working in Guatemala in 1976 following an earthquake which totally destroyed the Indian town of San Juan Sacatepéquez, 30 km from Guatemala City. Five wooden houses were built to provide homes for children who had been orphaned. Today, SOS Children's Villages has five Villages in the country … more about our charity work in Guatemala

All I want for Christmas is...

Carlitos is hoping Father Christmas brings him paints
Carlitos is hoping Father Christmas brings him paints

“What do you want for Christmas?” That’s the question asked by millions of us all over the world, every December. It’s a question children long to hear, and their letters to Father Christmas are carefully prepared weeks (or even months!) in advance. It's no different at our Children's Villages.

Five-year-old Carlitos knows exactly what he wants this year! “Ooo, I want a pram and a bike – I like the wheels! I want to learn how to ride the bike though, cos I still can’t,” he gabbles when we arrive at the Village in Guatemala where he lives. “Mum says we are going to get new clothes. I want a spiderman t-shirt. Oh! I also want a lot of crayons and paint. I love to paint!”

This is Carlitos first Christmas with his new SOS family. Until recently he and his brothers lived with their elderly grandfather until he became too ill to provide for them. At first, the transition was hard Carlitos, but now there’s nowhere he’d rather be.

An exciting time of year

Carlitos, Guatemala
Carlitos and one of his SOS brothers getting crafty for Christmas

Christmas preparations are well underway at our Children’s Villages’ in Guatemala. Every house beautifully decorated with the white flowers of chamomile, banana leaves and pine. Christmas trees are being put up and decorated by hoards of small children, excited by all the glitter and sparkle.

Under each tree is nativity scene, complete with wise men and farm animals. The nativity scenes are very special – they are traditional Guatemalan nativity scenes, handmade by everyone in the family and very brightly coloured. For Carlitos, the Christmas decorations are absolutely magical.

Celebrating with a bang!

Carlitos is especially excited by the prospect of getting to watch a firework display on Christmas day. Fireworks at Christmas are a big Guatemalan tradition and lots of rockets and firecrackers are launched to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.

“I want to spend the whole day playing and launching rockets. My brothers say that mum buys lots of rockets for us! I can’t wait for all the pretty lights in all different colours in the sky! 

His SOS sister, 8-year-old Alondra, explains how all the children will go to the supermarket with their SOS mum to get all the Christmas food. Carlitos wants fruit punch and chicken with gravy and lots and lots of sweets! Alondra won't reveal what the special meal will be, 'It's a surprise," she says. This year she's going to be helping her mum cook the dinner, "One day I want to be a chef!"so want to eat lots of sweets and Christmas food,” he says excitedly. “And I want happy music in the house so that everyone is happy!”

Carlitos is excited about the Christmas tree he's helping to decorate. "We’re all helping to help decorate it and it will look beautiful. I want to put a LOT of lights on it so it can shine and light up this house. I also want to make a snowman in front of the house, so that it can say hello to everyone who comes to visit us. I’ll put a Santa doll out there too!”

A very special wish 

We asked all the children at the Village what they would wish for if they could have one wish come true this Christmas. This was Carlito's response:

“I wish that all children could celebrate Christmas in a nice family like mine, because that way they can play all day with their brothers and sisters, launch fireworks and eat lots of sweets! My new family is very nice and I think all children should have a family like this one.”

Help give children like Carlitos a loving home this Christmas and sponsor a child today.