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Christmas in Vallarta – Toys for Vendors’ children

December 27, 2011

Every year at Christmas for the last 10 years and more, the folks we know who sit in the Blue Chairs on Los Muertos Beach organize a gift giveaway for the children of the beach vendors. It’s a great experience and this year was no different. In fact maybe it was better, because in the past we have sometimes seen tourists bring their children for a free gift, but this year the line was made up entirely of children and their beach vending parents

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We have heard from the people who know that the line ups have been starting at 5 am. I have no proof of that since I didn’t arrive at the beach until 8:30 am. Notice that even at that hour the sun has not yet reached the beach. That explains the hoodies and the warm clothes.

The palapas are hung with the toys – stuffed animals, dolls, trucks, cars, two skateboards even, and soccer balls – futbols in Spanish. Here’s a look at the palapas with their toys.

The plush animals go first. They are very popular with the parents of the smaller children. I saw two women go by with the smallest babies and the biggest plush bears! No photo though, sorry.

Nancy is one of the main organizers of the event and has been part of the gift giving since its inception. And Cheryl from Toronto is known for bringing gifts down for friends as well as doing their shopping for them. Here they are before the gates were opened. Cheryl is on the left.

The line is quiet – people visit with their neighbours while they wait. There’s no pushing, shoving, crying, impatience. Everyone is expectant and excited, but calm. Here is the family that was first in line. (I wonder when they arrived.)

 

Some of the folk who are involved, like Nancy and Cheryl, are oft time returnees to the event. Ken and Terry here are from Calgary and introduced us to the Blue Chairs years ago and have been coming back year after year. Joan is another long term Blue Chairs elf helping with the organization.

The  children wait so quietly, but you can see they are hoping they get the present they have their eye on.

Here’s Todd, one of Santa’s elves, who help the children choose, and, once they’ve selected, snip the string holding the toy and hand it over. I wish I’d gotten a picture of what happened after Todd passed this little girl her present. She turned around and gave him a wonderful hug – spontaneous and delightful. Todd was verklemft.

In the next photo is a little boy holding one of the remote controlled cars we bought to add to the bounty under the palapas. We found them at one of the shops in the local market and the staff were extra diligent. They opened every box, took out both car and remote, put in batteries and checked that the wheels went around, the lights came on and the wheels went left and right. We bought batteries for the vehicles as well and Geordie taped them together in a set of five and put them in the boxes. No child should have to go buy his own batteries!

The gift giving went incredibly well. At the end of the event, no child was left out and there were no gifts left. Two young girls arrived after things had wrapped up, and we were in a panic until we found two Barbie dolls under one of the palapas hanging on very short strings which had gone unnoticed. Karma!

On the way home I saw this family walking home too and asked them to pose with their loot. What a great feeling to know that we have  brought a little happiness into the lives of these children whose parents ply the beaches day after day selling their sarongs, jewellery, shrimp on a stick, blankets and every thing else.

A lovely end to a lovely morning.

Merry Christmas everyone.

 

 

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One Comment
  1. Judy Walker permalink

    That is a wonderful story about what Christmas should really be about. Thank you so much for sharing that. It made my heart warm.

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