Christmas blessings for the Lakota children

The Lakota boys and girls were blessed to receive wonderful Christmas gifts.
No matter how old they are, the Lakota boys and girls are so excited to receive Christmas presents!

Christmas continues into January at St. Joseph’s!  The excitement gets to linger for at least a week after break, extending the students’ excitement about presents to come.  It’s always fun to experience the Christmas holiday through the eyes of a child. No matter how old they are, or how much they may try to hide it, they are excited!  The first week after break brings excitement and anticipation for Sunday’s big event!

If there is one thing I would wish for in life, it would be that all kids would wake up to at least one present on Christmas Day. 

I no longer ask my students what they got for Christmas when they come back… I haven’t for years.  It breaks my heart that some experience no family time, or no gifts for this holiday.

It’s so exciting for our students that they have a Christmas to return to and presents to put the sparkle in their eyes!

Over the years, Christmas has changed at St. Joseph’s, not just the date.  I remember when I first started working at St. Joseph’s, we looked through used toys to try and find enough to give each of the kids a present.

Sometimes, it was a real stretch.

Many times, the toys had someone else’s name on it.  Often, the students were given games with missing pieces. Everyone got socks and gloves and were very happy to receive those items.

I remember one year my dad arranged for a company to send Nerf footballs for all the boys.  For the girls he made each their own tablets with their names printed on them (he owned a print shop)!  It was something new and exciting.

The Lakota children are so excited to open their gifts!
Ethan peeks into his gift a little early.

Thanks to very generous donors, Christmas gifts are awesome and definitely appreciated.

After the celebration, kids come to school sporting a new sweatshirt or talking about different toys they received.  We are blessed to have great donors!  One home got rollerblades and went skating Sunday afternoon.  They had great stories and, more importantly, great smiles!

This is a time I often spend reflecting on the true blessings I have.  Sometimes we forget how good we really have it.  I hope part of Christmas at St. Joseph’s and everywhere helps you reflect on what’s important too.  I have too many to name here, but my granddaughter, children, husband, job, relationship with God, and living in America would top my list!

May the New Year bring you peace and God’s blessings!  May the excitement of a new toy from your childhood spread into the joy of giving and sharing this New Year.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 89 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

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