When I found out that the girls would be Christmas shopping for themselves rather than the adults getting gifts for them, I was a little disappointed. Where’s the fun in that? Logically it makes sense because we wouldn’t be wasting money on something they don’t want, but I wanted the excitement of a heartfelt surprise.
However, the girls were given a certain amount of money to spend and we took them shopping around the marketplace. The word “marketplace” doesn’t quite set the scene right. The roads are jammed with people, most of the “stores” are pop-up vendors crammed next to one another, and we’re having to direct children who like to stop and look at the items every few seconds. But, after a chaotic couple of hours, it was done and the girls were satisfied. All of them bought clothes; shirts, pants, shoes, and if they budgeted right, a headband. The cliche that no kid wants boring clothes for Christmas couldn’t be further from the truth. They were ecstatic. So ecstatic that once we got back to the house, they put on their clothes and began to pose while I was the honorary paparazzi.
It was very entertaining to see a different side of the girls during these photos. The ones that are normally smiling the most suddenly were posing with a serious look. The ones that don’t normally want to be in photos were putting their hands on their hips. There is little uniformity in the pictures and yet I think that’s why I like them so much. Each person was able to express themselves in their own way. And whenever someone wasn’t in a photo, the girls would call her over. By the end of the night, everyone was posing together.
Reflecting on my original disappointed perspective, I believe I was wrong. Some of these girls come to Poppys House with only the clothes that they’re wearing. The girls that are a similar size have to share their clothes. And when we are able to get more, they are cheap or hand-me-downs. This is the one time a year the girls get to choose what they want for themselves. It must be such an exhilarating feeling for them to go to the store and pick out an outfit. Of course, a surprise is nice and don’t worry they got plenty of that too, but having the freedom to simply go clothes shopping was much more valuable and worthwhile at the end of the day.