All of our kids wrote their letters to Santa earlier this month and, as you can probably imagine, Santa received a wide range of requests. Our little boys asked for action figures, toy airplanes and footballs, our teen girls want hair supplies, make up and jewelry. One wanted help paying for her dream prom dress. A 14-year-old wrote, “I don’t want much, but if you send me my family I will be the proudest (happiest), and that will be a Christmas Miracle.” For many, that simple Christmas wish of family is all they really want.

This year we were able to watch one girl’s Christmas miracle come true. I’m not sure if Santa has anything to do with it, but I can’t deny there is magic in the air. The day she came in from school and we were able to tell her she was going home, something special happened. You could see it in her face. At 14, she’s a believer. Before she left she whispered to me, “Santa does exist. I asked him to go home and now I am.”

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of watching a child get their wish. As our many Palmetto Place Santas and elves collect gifts for our kids and our office turns into Santa’s Workshop once again, I notice items that were specifically asked for and I can’t help but smile knowing on Christmas morning more wishes will come true.

Many of the residents at Palmetto Place may not have happy memories of Christmas morning. For some, Santa has not visited every year. One teen didn’t want to write a letter to Santa because he “didn’t want to be disappointed again.” We’re making sure that this year Santa finds him on Christmas morning.

There are many Christmas traditions we love showing our children and teens. Like baking and decorating Christmas cookies, Christmas parties, making Christmas cards and leaving stockings out to be filled by Santa. Community service projects are also part of the Christmas tradition at Palmetto Place. The kids made beautiful cards for the veterans at Dorn VA and they’ll be delivering candy canes and hugs to some special folks next week. For some these are familiar traditions, for others the idea of decorating cookies is brand new.

With less than two weeks until Christmas, we have two open beds. Without a doubt they will be full on Christmas morning. It seems like every year we take in a child just days before Christmas. In addition to getting that child settled in, we also have emergency Santas on standby to make sure these kids have something special to open on Christmas Day. You can help us make Christmas special for each child at Palmetto Place, even the ones who haven’t arrived yet, by making a donation now. This year, every child will have fond memories of Christmas at Palmetto Place and we couldn’t do that without you and the support of the community.

By Grace Bennett, Project Coordinator