I've been spending a bit of time lately on the Xmas present drive I told you about a couple of weeks ago. Admittedly, I was a bit worried that we wouldn't reach our target of 80 gifts - not that much, I know, but initial gift collection has been a bit slow.
I suppose of course it's not quite Decemeber and many people haven't thought that much about Christmas or present buying. The stores here in Santiago are full of xmas stuff - trees, decorations, stockings, etc - but it's only been in the last few days, I think, that they really expected people to start buying things.
I think that because I've been looking for rolls of wrapping paper for the last few weeks and was frustrated in finding nada (nothing) until recently. Which to my mind is odd - why can't you buy rolls of wrapping paper year round? In Santiago, most supermarkets and big stores have a booth near the exit where your purchases can be wrapped as gifts. There is probably a token amount or tip given, I don't know, I haven't tried it - I'm one of those old fashioned gals who likes to wrap my own gifts. I certainly wouldn't stand in line (and a Chilean line is never short) to get someone else to do it. But it seems very popular here and there are usually crowds of people waiting with presents piled high in their trolleys. I can't decide if people think they are getting the better end of the deal by paying a 'professional' wrapping service instead of paying the same amount for the paper and then wrapping it themselves.
Anyhow, I have been busy buying and wrapping my own gifts for our present drive, and wrapping and sorting the gifts donated by generous others. I got a bunch of gift tags from the lovely Casa y Ideas and I've divvied current donations into age groups. Maya helps by running away with the rolls of paper or the sticky tape whenever she sees the opportunity to do so.
I also made some cute hair clips for Maya (who wears them long enough to go out somewhere and then when I'm not looking promptly discards them on the ground, for me to find - or not). I made some extra ones as to give as gifts, along with a book. Before we arrived, someone suggested I bring lots of early learner English books as presents for Chilean kids. Unfortunately, I've never met many school-aged Chilean children so most of the books have stayed in a drawer somewhere. I hope they'll go to better use now.
Anyhow, check out these hair clips. They're so cute (and well made, if I say so myself).
But I really need not have worried about the present drive. Yesterday, a friend passed on her donations - a whopping 23 gifts! I couldn't believe it as I saw her pull six enormous shopping bags out of her car. It is this generosity of spirit that reaffirms one's faith in people. What a gem.
We are well on our way now with over 50 gifts. It doesn't work if every child at the orphanage doesn't have a present to open but I feel confident that they will now, and that's pretty damn good news.