Thursday, December 26, 2013

Schultz Service 2013 "Making A Difference"-From Brian

Christy's family started a tradition last year where the adults chose in lieu of giving physical gifts to each other, we would give the gift of service. We would choose a name of a family member and instead of giving service to that person, we gave service to someone else, and hopefully along the lines of something that meant something to the person they chose. For example, if the person loved apples, then the service was hopefully something that had to do with apples.  Then after the service we write about it with pictures and then read all the posts on Christmas Day among our family.

Brian chose my sister, Amber.  He did a really great job giving service in her name.  Here is a copy of his write up.

"I've always thought of Amber as a person that is very concerned with making sure that everyone around her is included in anything.  Whether it be a family gathering, or feeling like they're a special part of Christmas.  I can't imagine her being happy if she knew that someone got left out.

When it came time to thinking of service that I could do on her behalf, I struggled for a little while; until I heard about the Angel Tree program they do on the army base for those less fortunate.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it's where you pick a name off the tree of a child who is in need of a toy at Christmastime.  I didn't like the idea of some of the children over here not having much of a Christmas; especially when one of their parents might be deployed or gone for the holidays.  So I went down to one of the (several) "trees" that were to be found in our area and found a 3-year old Boy and a 2-year old Girl that I could try to help make Christmas a little better for this year.

The boy loves Barney.  That was a challenge, since it seems that Barney isn't the most popular toy these days.  I checked three or four toy stores, but didn't have much luck.  But fortunately, walking through an electronics store I came across a 3-DVD set of classic Barney episodes.  Then, Spencer wanted to help, so he suggested that the boy would surely love some Thomas trains.  So we added two Thomas the Tank Engine metal trains to the gift bag.

The girl wanted a doll that she could dress up.  So I had to ask Christy for a little help there.  We searched a few toy stores until we found a toddler-safe doll that had plenty of accessory packs.  Here are a few pictures of the toys we got.  There were a few pictures of me holding the toys but I can't find them now.  I was also taken aback at how many people also participated in the Angel Tree program when I dropped the gifts off.  Especially because when I had first picked the names off the tree there were still so many that needed to be filled.  And that continued on for about a week.  But now the tree is empty and the box is full.  No kids will be left without a Christmas around here!

The second thing I did in Amber's honor was take part in the Mrs. Claus project Christy's friend started last year.  Over here, and even in the states, there are many families whose spouses would be deployed on Christmas.  A lot of times these spouses don't receive Christmas gifts because it takes too long to get to them.  Or many times their husband is coming home in month so they can bring the gifts then, or they simply just don't have the money.  Many of them are disappointed, sad and a little depressed not to have something to open on Christmas Day.

When Annie first heard of this she knew these spouses left behind needed a little something to be opened on Christmas Day. And who knows better about being left alone on Christmas than Mrs. Claus.  Thus, the Mrs. Claus Affair!

Each spouse is nominated and then the Mrs. Claus Affair finds volunteers to fill a basket with about $50-$75 worth of gifts and bring it to them before Christmas Eve.  Here is the nomination email and instructions of what we're supposed to do.

Andrew writes:

"Amanda is a volunteer dance instructor, for children.  She dances ballet, hip-hop - everything for fun as well.  My wife is good friends with her and says she really wants a “Nutcracker” , the character from the ballet.  I guess it is at the christmas store in the BX (I have know idea, being a man!).  She also likes dogs - has two of them.  She would like to travel more around here.  Probably likes girl things like the spa and facials and things like that.  She is a very sweet 25yrs old, first time on her own for the past 4months away from her husband.  She is not able to take off Christmas because of her job here, so she has decided to make the most of it and will volunteer at the USO on Christmas day.  Overall, Amanda is easy-going and would be happy with any token of appreciation.  We just wanted to try something nice for her since we will be away from the holiday.

Thank you again,

Do not feel obligated to get her a nutcracker, I say have fun shopping for whatever you want to get her she sounds fun and easy. 

So here are your instructions:

1. Shop for something fabulous that you think is appropriate. Whatever you can give is appreciated. Remember, we want her to have something to open.
2. Write a PERSONAL LETTER including your address and contact
information so she knows who was thinking of her.
3. Wrap gift with your letter included.
envelope and write, "READ ME FIRST" on the outside. 
5. Deliver package!

Christy and I shopped for quite a few things to make this basket beautiful, even shopping for a handmade nutcracker at the Wiesbaden Christmas Market.  Here are a few of the items we put in the basket.

Here's Christy running it in to the girls.  We got to meet her and she seemed genuinely shocked and overjoyed that we would think of her.  I left my email just in case she wanted to touch base with us.  But at least she wasn't one of the ones who were "left behind" on Christmas!

It was a lot of fun, looking for toys for kids and giving a package to someone that will hopefully make their Christmas even brighter and makes me hope that maybe they'll have a happier, or more joyful Christmas morning.

Love you Amber!!!

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