The Wonder of X-Mas Gifts

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Christmas: a time we spend with our family in the presence of a nicely decorated tree and when we enjoy the fact that we’re sitting inside instead of in the freezing cold. However, Christmas has another very important factor for kids: receiving presents. Unfortunately, if you’re a child refugee, the wonder of receiving gifts during Christmas might pass you by. To make sure those kids also experience a merry Christmas, we at Just-BI turned into temporary Santa’s and collected as many toys and clothes possible (and they we’re a lot). Just-BI has had this initiative for more than 10 years! This year we were able to donate to 60 kids from more than 30 families. Here’s how it went:

 

The Mountains Arise

After we picked up all the toys and clothes, we realized people had been generous, very generous. Our conference room was turning into a mountainous area, where the mountains where made of fluffy toys and bags with clothes. It was time for the next steps: prepare the gift boxes, print out the labels, sort out the clothes and toys, and then put them in the boxes.

The Mountains of toys arise
The Toy Mountains arise

We divided the tasks: I took on the role of coordinating the process with three other colleagues. This primarily meant asking our other colleagues to take some time off from their usual activities, telling them where to put toys and clothes and telling them to continue doing a good job (aka mental support). Also, very importantly: play some good music, to keep the morale high of the sorting squad.

For anyone wondering whether stuffed animals are still in fashion: the answer is a definite yes. Never before have I witnessed such grand amounts of furry toys per square meter. I also encountered many amazing types of toys and clothes, some of which I still do not know exactly what they are. It was thus also a learning experience for me. Colorful beads, Egyptian clothing, toy mansions, Louis Vitton-esque purses, the range of presents was impressive.

Lunchboxes, cop cars, soccer balls, puzzels: there was a lot of variety
Lunchboxes, cop cars, soccer balls, puzzels: there was a lot of variety

Despite figuring out whether a toy or a piece of clothing was designated for a boy or a girl, we also had a gender-neutral intitiative going on: each child received a soccer ball regardless of their gender. Each child also received their own lunchbox. However, these were blue and pink, so ended up being gender-specific.

Colleagues trying to figure out which gender a gift belonged to, gender-neutral was often the answer
Colleagues trying to figure out which gender a gift belonged to: gender-neutral was often the answer

What Santa Would Want

Of course, not every piece of clothing or toy was A-grade, so we put those apart. We implemented the following rule: don’t give to somebody else what you wouldn’t give to your own child. Santa would want it that way. We donated the presents that were still usable to the Weggeefwinkel and the Babybullenbak.

The Christmas spirit was clearly present in the entire company. From Junior Consultants to the CEOs, everyone came together and spent the time they could afford to spend sorting presents and packing boxes. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

The sorting and packing troops taking a rest from their hard work
Some of the sorting and packing troops taking a rest from their hard work

 

Ready for Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer

The result was the following: a real-live version of Jenga with boxes instead of wooden blocks. After the boxes were ready for delivery, we transported them to Vluchtelingenwerk (one of the largest refugee aid NGOs).

The result: Christmas presents ready to be gifted by Santa
The result: Christmas presents, stacked & ready to be gifted by Santa

Each child deserves a happy Christmas, regardless of whether they are named Jan and come from Monnickendam, or are named Mustafa and come from a village in Afghanistan. Thanks to all the families that gave away their toys and clothes, we were able to help give those families some joy and relief during these times that can be quite tough. We at Just-BI want to thank all the families that donated and everyone that helped achieve that goal. Happy holidays, whoever you are, from all the Just-BI Santa’s!

Special thanks to Van Mossel Autolease Groningen.
Please also see newsblog: we-did-it-again.

 

 

Michael Hendrik Bussink
Author: Michael Hendrik Bussink

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