holiday gifts

A Time of Laughter and Joy

By Kate Andrews

Who knew we had such musical (and comic) talent here at ChildFund’s international office? See for yourself with our 12 Days of Christmas Remix video that highlights selections from this year’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog. A fruit tree sapling, a team of oxen, 12 head of cattle and other gifts are featured in song, all performed by ChildFund staff.

man and woman with garden tools

Matt and Jetta sing it!

Instead of “five golden rings,” we have “five garden tools,” sung by Matthew Straw and Jetta Washington from our sponsor care department.

That’s a traditionally memorable line in the original song (can anyone forget Miss Piggy in the Muppets’ version?), and Matt and Jetta make the most of it. Matt says they drew some attention the day before the shoot while practicing in the parking lot with props. “We wanted to have the most impact,” he says of their decision to sing number five.

woman with chicken

Kate, Melissa, Michelle, Krishna, Sara and Christine

woman with chicken

Shirley and her laying hens.

Melissa Wade of the marketing department is part of the team of “biker girls” and also sings the line about “11 wellness checkups.” She’s the only one pretending to ride a bicycle, in case you have trouble identifying her. Now “everybody walks past me doing that,” she jokes. “Typical Melissa, being silly.”

The video, which was filmed in ChildFund’s library after work hours, was a lot of fun to make, and everyone came up with their own performance ideas, the participants say. They hope the video will encourage people to donate gifts from the catalog, which are requested by children in the 31 countries ChildFund serves. Celeste Pounds, the senior marketing specialist who impersonates an ox in the video, was involved in creating the catalog from day one.

woman dresses as an oxen

Celeste portrays an ox.

As for the video, it’s worth looking a little ridiculous if we can help children, she jokes, although she did put on her sunglasses “in hopes of not being identifiable.” She adds that it was fun to spend time with colleagues in a setting away from the typical work environment, and the “milk mustache” and garden tool lines are among her favorite parts of the video.

woman and man with goat

Ashley and Kyle go over their lines.

Ruth Iswariah, a global human resources generalist, took on two roles: narrating the beginning and end of the video and singing the “two sturdy shoes” line, which she does in Hindi, the national language of India. Many children in developing countries lack sturdy shoes, and Ruth takes that situation seriously, so she asked a friend to let her daughter be in the video to represent the children who need shoes.

“Even though the video is funny, it’s moving,” Ruth says. We encourage you to watch the 12 Days of Christmas Remix, share it with your friends and family, and consider giving a gift to a child in need.

Gifts from the Heart

by Cynthia Price, ChildFund Communications Director

My book club was gathered together eagerly looking through a catalog trying to find the perfect gift.

Two girls on bicyclesShould we get a bicycle? Or a dictionary? The new mom in the group liked blankets. And what about toys? Such a clatter arose as this literary group tried to decide how best to spend its pooled funds.

It reminded me of my childhood when the Sears Wish Book would arrive. I always enjoyed thumbing through all the pages and dog-earing some of them in hopes that my parents would share my wishes with Santa.

The catalog my book club was so animatedly studying was ChildFund’s Gifts of Love & Hope. In year’s past, we’d always done a gift exchange but this year we decided we’d buy a gift for someone else. One member suggested giving through ChildFund’s catalog. Of course, since I work for ChildFund, I thought it was a wonderful suggestion. As did the others.

boy with goatBut what to give? Alicia, an avid kite boarder who loves the water, was in favor of a gift of clean water. Gloria loved the image of the goat on the catalog cover and was in favor of giving a farm animal. I liked the bicycles because I knew it meant girls who travel long distances to school would be able to get to school more easily. If they weren’t so tired from walking, they could concentrate better.

It was so hard to decide. We debated. We counted our money. We increased our limit. In the end, we remained true to our literary side. We chose a classroom map and dictionary. As Rowena said, “We’re a book club. We have to buy a book!”

girl with blocks

But that wasn’t enough for us. Tena, the new mom, made a good point about toys helping children develop. So we added in toys for an early childhood development center caring for sick children in Ethiopia.

We left book club without packages, boxes or bags. But like the Grinch, our hearts “grew three sizes that day!” And we left with a merry feeling.

Have you thought about giving a gift that will change a child’s life?

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