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Globe Santa

Their first Christmas without mom

By Christopher Tangney
Globe Santa Correspondent / November 25, 2011
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Every letter that arrives in Globe Santa’s mail bin involves a young child facing difficult circumstances. Many have medical conditions that require painful, costly, and time-consuming care, which takes an emotional toll on their parents or guardians, and often makes it impossible for them to earn enough money for any extras, including Christmas gifts.

But some children have already endured perhaps the ultimate loss - the death of a parent. And such is the case for a 4-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother, whose aunt wrote to Globe Santa on their behalf as they prepare for their first Christmas without their mother.

“Last spring, my sister and I were involved in a tragic car accident and she passed away,’’ the woman wrote. “I now have custody of her two beautiful children and I am here for them, but it’s been a very hard year.’’

Like most any parent, this single mother - who once envisioned being the aunt who could spoil her niece and nephew - wants the two children to know the excitement of a visit from Santa Claus.

The toddler already has a fondness for toy cars, she said in her letter, and his sister is a budding writer, practicing her penmanship by writing out the alphabet and her name.

They’ve struggled mightily to understand why their mother is no longer here to take care of them, she wrote, and have shed enough tears for several years over.

“They truly miss their mom,’’ she wrote. “If you could help me make this Christmas nice for them it would mean so much.’’

Since 1956, Globe Santa has delivered toys, books, games, and candy to families throughout Eastern Massachusetts who celebrate Christmas in the Santa Claus tradition but cannot afford presents for their children.

Last year, $1,413,668 was raised and 56,190 children discovered presents from Globe Santa under their tree.

Because so many people liked knowing they helped make a child happy, 31,263 families were able to enjoy the wonder of Christmas morning rather than a difficult day.

This family lives in the same Boston neighborhood where she and her sister were raised, the woman wrote, and the children’s grandmother often comes by and helps with dinner, but her work schedule keeps the grandmother busy every day.

Because the streets on their block can be dangerous at night, the thought of taking a job that would require coming home after dark worries her, but without anyone to baby-sit the children during the day and unable to afford day care, she wrote, she may have no other alternative.

“I don’t think we can make it until they are both in school so I could work during the day. As it is, I barely have the means to keep them fed and buy them clothes, which I get secondhand.’’

Her family will be among the thousands that receive a visit from Globe Santa this year thanks to the generosity of individuals, groups, and local businesses that donate to the fund drive.

Every dollar raised by Globe Santa is used to buy gifts; the Boston Globe Foundation pays all of the administrative costs associated with the campaign.

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