Monday, December 24, 2007

Operation Santa Claus Part 3

Operation Santa Claus 2007
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | A little more here | The Last Delivery
The Letters | The Gifts
All delivered... for now. One person wasn't in so I left my name and phone number for her. If she calls before Christmas I'll try to meet up with her somewhere. If not, I'll pop her gifts in the mail after Christmas.

I hope I can keep things simpler next year. I was telling myself "Just THREE kids TOPS next year!" but as I was delivering gifts yesterday I found myself thinking "I could do this many again. It'd be ok..."

I saw some parts of Manhattan I've never been in before. One of the projects was really scary. Great for a creepy movie! But a couple of the neighborhoods had me thinking "hmmmm... I wonder how much it would cost to rent a place here..."

I saw some of the kids. The first two I saw were SO CUTE! SO cute! And the little boys that I had so much trouble buying gifts for? The Power Rangers will be perfect! Especially for one of them. And I was so right that these would be better gifts for them than the ones I wasn't satisfied with. But I think both boys will be too small for the shirts I got them. They're teeny tiny little boys! Their mothers did say they were a size 5, but I had a choice between a shirt marked 4/5 or one marked 6/7. I was afraid that if the 4/5 were closer to "4" than "5" the shirts would be too small, and I didn't want that. So I figured I'd err on the large side. Hopefully they can roll up sleeves, or exchange them, or maybe even wear them next year. -Have I said how cute these kids were? :)

The parents were all very sweet, and didn't seem at all surprised that I showed up at their doors instead of mailing the gifts. That was good. But they kept wanting the kids to thank me or for me to meet the kids which was frustratingly awkward because I'd have loved to meet the kids or talk with them, but I was also trying to secretly give them the gifts so they'd think they came from Santa! "Thank the nice lady for the gifts" kind of ruins that illusion!

One woman was so happy I think she wanted to hug me. She invited me in, and part of me wishes I'd accepted and gone in for a few moments, but I didn't want to intrude. I really would have mailed these instead if there had been time. So, as with everyone else, I explained that I answered her letter to the post office, that I had gifts for the kids, handed her the bag, then I wished her a Merry Christmas and left. Even today I'm feeling kind of bad about not going in. I would have liked to. But I didn't want her to feel like she had to entertain me or do or give something back to me in return. She was SO excited and happy. -I like happy excited people! But I left. Our conversation lasted all of maybe 30-60 seconds.

I'll be honest... there were two "kinks" with this, but the rest went well.

#1) The woman who wasn't home. Not the end of the world. I really lucked out that this only happened with one person.

#2) This next problem was difficult for me because I went back and forth about what to do about it. At one home, I asked the woman who answered the door if she was Mrs. 'So and so' and she said that she wasn't, and that she just took care of their children. -ChildREN. As in Plural. As in the little girl who wrote the letter didn't tell Santa that she had a SISTER TOO! I felt so bad.

I don't know if the other little girl didn't write at all, or if she sent in a separate letter. If she did, it may or may not get answered. Less than 1/3rd do. But how awful would it be for "Santa" to answer one girl's wish and not the other?! It's really been bothering me and I've considered going back there with a generic gift, or looking up the parents' phone number and calling them to offer to get their other daughter a gift, but everyone's been telling me I should let it go. Even the babysitter said not to worry about it, and that they'll be fine. I think I've convinced myself that they may be right.

Hopefully the parents will put both girls' names on the presents, and (in the interest of my not rescuing people every time they make a mistake) maybe the parents will learn to make sure both kids are mentioned in ONE letter next time. I'm not doing this to "punish" the parents, but if I were to jump in and save the day they might not realize that they need to change the way they do things next year. I have to trust that the parents will "fix" this somehow on their own and not let the other little girl down. I really hope I'm right. Part of me can't help wondering if this is a "Cinderella" type situation but I really hope it's nothing like that. At least they had a few days to try to do something about it since this was one of the deliveries I made on Saturday. Plus the girls were napping when I went by so they didn't see me deliver a bag with "gifts for one."

I'm really trying to let this go, but I still feel so bad about it! -And let me tell you, when I made yesterday's deliveries I made sure I had TWO generic gifts with me (Boy reject gifts from earlier!) just in case I ran into that problem again!

I'm thankful that I didn't run into too many problems with this overall. Nobody killed me in the projects, most people were home, I know I got good gifts for all the kids, I stuck to my budget, and despite the late start, I got them (almost) all delivered in time for Christmas. I am really thankful that everything worked out as well as it did. -The person who wasn't home could still turn out to be an ax murderer but we'll have to see how that works out.



Missy said...

That's wonderful that you took so much effort for others at Christmas time.

Hope Santa knows you have some great present karma this year!

storyteller said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences so specifically in this 3-part series ... (including the good, bad, interesting, and frustrating parts) ... so when I take up this challenge locally next year, I'll have the benefit of what you encountered. I understand your concerns about the family with 2 little girls, yet methinks it's important to remind you that and one's best is always good enough, so may I encourage you gently to cut yourself some slack and let those feelings go. Savor the joys of sharing as you've done these past three days and KNOW that all will be well.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Hugs and blessings,

Melissa said...

Thank you Missy :)

Storyteller: Yes, notes for next year: Bring a couple of generic presents, and also bring pre-printed "sorry I missed you" letters with envelopes, tape, and a pen so that if you leave the gift with a neighbor, you can write that in and slide the note under their door. (I didn't have to use these but after the first person wasn't in, I printed a few up for the next people just in case.)

And thank you for trying to get me to cut myself some slack. In this case, for me, it wasn't so much about doing my best, but more about what was the right choice to make. Hard to assess. But I do think I made the best decision. I don't think there was going to be a "good/easy" one. I hope it worked out.