GIVING to those in need has long been an important part of the Christmas season for childhood friends Eliza Van de Kamp, Lily O’Bryne and Maani Baker.
In 2010, the girls asked a simple but powerful question – ‘what do poor people get for Christmas?’
Deciding that Christmas is about giving not receiving, the girls have since joined forces each year to host a ‘Giving Party’, which sees family and friends come together to donate a present to charity.
“The idea is that instead of getting a present from Santa, you give him one to take to the people in need,” event organiser Bridget Van de Kamp said.
“Children sit patiently and one by one they give Santa a present that they have brought to put in his sack and deliver to others.”
Starting from humble beginnings as a private event, the Giving Party has since grown in popularity and will now be open to the public for the first time, running alongside the Design Garage Market.
In addition to a visit from Santa, who will collect the presents, the Giving Party will also include appearances from superheroes, face painting, craft stalls, as well as food and coffee stalls.
Ms Van de Kamp said that jointly running with the Design Garage Market gave patrons an extra opportunity to buy a gift to give to Santa.
“It’s important that children learn to give as well as receive and we encourage parents to take their children shopping and let them choose what they would like to buy,” she said,
“The experience of giving is often lost and this is a great way to include everyone who may have a spare $1 to give to those in need.
“It’s amazing to watch the joy these children get from giving to others – it doesn’t matter what the present is, it’s the gift of giving that matters.”
This year the gifts will be donated statewide to the Salvation Army and children in therapeutic state care.
“It is important for us to look after each other as a global community and this is something small we can do to give back,” she said.
“It is also supporting three young girls who had an idea to make a difference to people’s lives.
“It is important to take a minute to experience what Christmas is really about.”
The Giving Party will be held on Sunday 6 December from 10am-3pm at the Sunshine Recreation Centre on Howrah Road.