Christmastime at Love & Hope

Christmastime is one of Love & Hope Children’s Home’s busiest and most exciting seasons, thanks in part to many generous organizations and individuals. The children loved receiving personalized gifts, eating cake and cotton candy, swimming, singing karaoke and playing games.
The staff at Love & Hope were also remembered and recognized with a Christmas lunch where their “secret Santa’s” were revealed. Love & Hope Children’s Home’s local board donated gifts for all of the caregivers.
One of our most special events leading up to Christmas is a party we give for the families of our children. Thanks to a generous donation, the Love & Hope kids had the opportunity to shop for their family members at the dollar store. The gifts they picked out included toilet paper and other toiletries, cleaning supplies, dishes and cookies. We celebrated with the children and their families at the beach where everyone enjoyed playing and eating together as well as exchanging the presents the Love & Hope kids had so thoughtfully picked out and wrapped.
Christmas Eve was full of activities! During the day the kids played games, made red and green pretzels and had a coloring contest. In preparation for a late night, they took naps after lunch. In the evening, everyone went to church where several of the children participated in a nativity play as shepherds, wise men, Mary and Joseph!
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Upon arriving home, we read the Christmas story, lit the last candle on our advent wreath, and had a delicious turkey dinner.
After dinner we made “ginger bread” houses, and just before midnight, Santa arrived! Every year he seems to look and speak just a little different (last year he had a British accent, this year he spoke perfect Spanish), but he always brings something really special. This year Santa brought all of the kids a movie ticket!
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El Salvador comes alive at midnight on December 25th. It seems the entire country heads outside to blow off fireworks in celebration of Christ’s birth! We went outside to watch the Salvadoran sky light up and to do our own sparklers.
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On Christmas Day at 8:00am it was time to wake up. One of our favorite Christmas traditions is passing out gifts in a nearby community. On Christmas Eve, the kids prepared and wrapped a gift, taking from their own things and extra goodies that we had stored in the closet . On Christmas morning, before opening presents, before eating breakfast, before even changing out of our pajamas, everyone loaded into the car with a present to give. At the community, the kids sought out another child their own age, and gave them the gift. It was heartwarming to watch the Love & Hope kids so excitedly bless others.
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When we got home, the kids opened their own presents one-by-one and then enjoyed a late breakfast of waffles. Later, we utilized the movie tickets that Santa had brought and went to see Frozen in 3D.
There are so many people who helped make Christmas special for the Love & Hope kids this year. Love & Hope Children’s Home is blessed to have a lot of great friends and supporters who enjoy spending time with our children, showing them a good time and providing us the opportunity to bless them with great opportunities and fun “kid” stuff! Thank you to the following groups and individuals who helped Love & Hope Children’s Home this Christmas and throughout 2013:
Thrift Nation
Members of the United States Navy
Focus Services El Salvador
Convoy of Hope
Please Pass the Bread
Operation Blessing
Alyssa Cresci and Family
Michael Hansen
Alma and Romeo Reyes
Cuyahoga Valley Church
McLean Bible Church
St. Mark Lutheran Church
Volunteers: Brittany, Meike and Lea
Our Tios, Tias and Staff
Local Board in El Salvador
AME International
El Diario de Hoy
Sponsors and Donors in El Salvador and the United States