If you have some suggestions please feel free to send
them in. firstname.lastname@example.org
First you must decide what your resources are.
Forth, The Game Plan after all you need to be organized.
Fifth, if things go wrong (page coming soon)
If your aren't quite up to being a elf, you can always
be an assist elf.
Not only do elves handle their family needs, many help
others in need. Deciding on who you are going to help will depend on your
personal preferences and resources.
1. Decide how much you can spend, and how much time you
2. Before calling any organization, or group. Have a good
idea of what you are planning to do, include which group such as
just kids, or senior citizens. If doing a family know how many members
there should be, and what geographic area.
Time - Quick and easy, shop and drop off. Normally under
2 hours total time.
Total time will average 8 to 10 hours.
Time can range from an hour up.
Time can also be very flexible, depending on the persons
Time, you can count on at least several hours of prime
holiday time. (December 23 - 26)
As well as and the normal places listed below, I have included a page just for people to ask for assistance: This Years Letters to Christmas Elves
|*American Red Cross -
Animal Shelters - O
*Battered Woman's Shelter - K,F
*Fire Department - O
Food Banks - F,S,D
*Government Offices - F,S,D
|*Homeless Shelters - F,S
Hospitals - K,F,S,D
Letters to Santa - K,F
Nursing Homes - S,D
*Year around organizations - K,F,S,D
American Red Cross (back to locations)
This is for that special group of elves. Not for the rookie. See disaster victims.
If humans aren't your cup of tea, there are many shelters that would love to have some help.
SSI caseworkers - they help people who don't receive enough money or don't qualify for regular benefits. These will mostly be people with a disability.
Determination workers - these are the folks that
determine if a person qualifies for services, the people they are deciding
on are often the most needy. Many are receiving very little, if any assistance,
some people end up homeless while waiting.
Year around organizations
(back to locations)
Size - This will depend on how much you wish to do for the family and your budget.
Background - Elves are human, as with many humans some
have preferences. If things such as reasons for needing assistance, race,
or religion are of concern to you, pick a family you will be comfortable
with. People needing assistance come from a very wide spectrum.
Use the #68 to block caller ID on your touch tone phone
Be careful of the casual conversation. Things like what
area of town you live in, what stores you shop in, what school your child
attends, what church you attend, and where you work. Thinking ahead will
pay off, handle questions in a polite manner, than move the conversation
on to something else. (Oh, I love shopping at the Mall, We're just your
average Methodist, We live across town, I work as a secretary for a large
Second contact - in person
Watch your body language, and the way you dress.
Things to ask:
Ask adults about:
If Christmas tree are not noticed, ask what kind of tree they use. They may have an artificial tree, that has not been set up yet, or they not have a tree. See Christmas tree and decorations.
Christmas dinner, is one of the important things to check. They may have plans to be with another family member's or a friend's home. Also many groups provide Christmas dinner baskets. If no arrangements for dinner have been made, ask about preferences. Some families are ham while others enjoy turkey, some like pumpkin pie while others do apple. This way you know that what is purchased is eaten. Also inquire to any special diets, and treats for the kids.
If it can be done with grace, find out if the have a freezer. This will help determine if the extra food items should be perishable or not.
Treats - Since you asked when you met them, you will know if the children are allowed sweets. Candy, cookies, and fruit are old standbys.
Something for the adults - At least a token gift. It may be some thing eatable, or even some thing as simple as new slippers.
Needed items for kids - Some kids aren't too excited about getting clothing for Christmas, but they will enjoy it later. Like most of us did as kids.
Christmas Dinner - Do it right, spend the couple of extra dollars for the brand name pie. Don't forget the extras like whipped cream, gravy....
Staples - Many times this is where things are forgotten. By buying extra food, the Christmas spirit lives a little longer. They may enjoy that Christmas dinner, but be thinking of what there will be to eat the next day. If the family has a freezer meat is a wonderful. If not stick to the non perishables: flour, sugar, vegetable oil, shorting, salt, pepper, rice, noodles, canned veggies, canned fruit, pudding, Jell-O, boxed stuffing, soup...
Also try to include a few of the extras that may not always fit into their budget: coffee, tea, instant hot chocolate, marshmallows, cookies, cupcakes, jelly, and a couple of convenience foods or a gift certificate for a local restaurant. After all we all have days we don't feel like cooking.
After buying the gifts, remove tags, gift wrap gifts for
the adults. Place items for the kids in dark colored bags, or boxes. Put
gift wrap, tape, bows, and tags in a separate bag or box.
Load car with gifts first, and nonperishable foods.
Load refrigerated and frozen items in a separate bag or box. This will make is easier to locate during all unloading.
Once you get there, keep it quick and simple should take no longer than 10 minutes. Drop off everything. Let them know which boxes/bags have perishables, that the kids items are in the dark colored bags, and that you have supplied everything they will need to wrap them.
Wish them a Merry Christmas, and vanish never to be seen
or heard from again!
2. If an unsafe area of town, make all in person contacts in the day light hours. While people are around.
3. Stay anonymous, this is also a dignity concern too.
4. When calling always remember to block caller ID.
2. If offered something to drink, or cookies and coffee. Listen carefully to the tone of voice, you may need to accept. For this may fill their need to give back something. Just think of it this way: Even if the housekeeping isn't up to your standards, many restaurant kitchens aren't either.
3. Let them know this isn't a "hand-out" only one person helping another. They can always so the same for someone else when things are better.
4. Include the parents, don't gift wrap the children's items. Supply everything they will need. After all isn't that half the fun?
5. The less contact the better.
Christmas Trees & Decorations
(back to family)
For a real tree, go to any of the local charity
tree lots. Tell them what you are doing, many will offer a discount, and
some will just give you one.
The average tree will need a string or two of twinkle lights and garland. A couple boxes of ornaments. Don't forget the tree topper and skirt. If you are doing a real tree, it will need a "foot" that holds water.
Depending on the ages of the children you may wish to
include some craft supplies for them to make their own decorations too.
Items like: construction paper, rounded tipped scissors, glue, glitter,
crayons, and even an activity book. As a rule I avoid paint.
Be ready, it could happen. These are the most common, and how you might respond depending on age. Remember you must be sincere, kids read adults like a book. Also never promise something you may not be able to deliver.
Who are you? - Just one of Santa's helpers.
I thought elves were little and were green clothes. - Well some are, I'm just a big elf, and out grew my elf clothes.
Is Santa going to bring me a ____ for Christmas?
If you are unsure - I don't know for sure, but if he can't what else might he bring.
If you know you can't - Wow that's a tall order, just in case he can't what else could he bring.
If it is personal like wanting a loved one to return, or for someone ill to get better - Well Santa does better at getting presents for people....using your common sense think for a minute than, wing it.
Living in a nursing home.
Sweets such as candy are almost always a big hit with everyone.
Take them out for lunch, or bring in a nice meal.
If the person is female, many homes have in-house beauty shops. There's nothing like having your hair fixed, and a manicure.
A nice pair of pajamas or night gown and robe with slippers.
A new outfit, many people will have either lost weight, or gained weight since they entered the home. Something that is new, and fits, makes anyone feel good.
Their favorite bottle of perfume or after shave.
Favorite puzzle books, magazines, or book.
One of my favorites was a gentleman who enjoyed hot tea, and flavored coffees, in the evening. However the home very seldom offered coffee or tea at night for the residents. So I got him a microwave brewer (looks like a plastic tea ball with a handle) and some ground gourmet coffee, along with some specialty teas.
You may also wish to decorate the room, with Christmas
decorations and/or other decorative items. Items like pictures and plants
are often enjoyed.
Watch out for preconceived ideas, not all people live in subsidized housing or in other special places. Some will live in a nice part of town, and appear to not be in need. Many times they were doing well with their lives than something changed, such as a child being born with a disability, or someone becoming disabled from an accident, or illness. They still have their possessions (nice furniture, a car, entertainment center...), and appear to have the life style of before. The idea that insurance and government programs cover all the expenses, are simply not true.
Treat as you would any family that didn't have a person
with a disability. See family.
Most of these people , should be in the system where you can get the needed information to select the person/people you wish to help for any of the normal avenues as with any other family.
This is one of the toughest and fastest paced assignments an elf can take on. I would only suggest this if you have some experience. It will require a lot of planning, and could take time from your family during the peak holiday time (Dec. 23 - Dec. 26).
Each year like clock work the fire season starts around December , between weather and holiday lights the numbers go up. Some people will have insurance others may not. Either way a holiday fire, is a special situation. If the fire happens after December 23: The odds are that all the organizations that help people will have already given out everything they had, the insurance contact may be difficult to contact, and these people at least for now may only own what they came out of the home with.
How to set-up to take on fire victims
2. If your local Red Cross Chapter does not have a DAT, than contact the local fire department, ask to speak to the Caption. Let him/her know of your plans.
3. No matter which group you work with, you will need to be available on short notice. I would strongly suggest using a pager.
4. Since you don't know when, where, how many, gender, ages, or even if there will be a fire. You must be ready for most anything.
5. Contact local store owners and managers, let them know what you are planning. Ask if they would help by opening the store for you if needed. Don't expect them to give you anything for free, all you want is a chance to buy something. Be sure to get names and phone numbers. Use only if needed, such as with a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day fire.
6. Keep a couple of stuffed animals on hand, just in case.
If you are using the Fire department also stock a few personal items: comb,
toothbrushes, toothpaste, shave cream, disposable razors, mouth wash, deodorant,
and female personal items.
2. The odds are that they will be in a motel, shelter, or with friends/family.
3. Clothing and personal items, will be the first items needed. Of course the children will be upset, just from the stress of everything happening, and then from having lost all their Christmas items. This is when those stuffed animals come in handy.
4. If they have no support (friends/family to help), and are in the motel setting up a couple of meals at the restaurant will be welcomed.
5. Let the adults know of your plans, then follow through.
Small children who are worried about Santa not finding them or their Christmas
gifts being gone, may be calmed by simply explaining to them depending
on the time of the fire:
7. An extra nice touch, if the family didn't have insurance is gift certificates, to local discount stores, where they can buy needed items.