Angels Among Us

How many gifts do you think you’ll receive this Christmas? A dozen? Two dozen? More? Although receiving gifts is not what this season should be about, it is sad to think about the many children who will not get to experience the innocent, pure joy of finding gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. I’m sure that most of us have never had to wake up to a room void of gifts on this most memorable of mornings. We often don’t even have to worry about not getting that most coveted gift we’ve been thinking about for months—it’s usually there, waiting for us. But do we ever pause to think about the quiet disappointment that fills so many houses every Christmas? Not the disappointment of not finding that treasured gift among the other twenty, but of not even expecting a single gift at all.

Now is your chance to help a child get to experience the joy of Christmas morning that so many of us have always taken for granted. I’m sure many of you have seen Angel Trees placed in stores and schools in your area. These trees lend a wonderful opportunity to meet this childhood desire of someone who would otherwise not experience it. The process is fairly easy, but the unseen rewards are priceless.

Begin by locating a place that offers an Angel Tree. You can often find these at banks, grocery stores, and schools. These trees are decorated with paper angels, which have information about a specific child on the back. The information will include the age and gender of the child, so select an angel you feel you would be prepared to shop for. Ask someone in charge of the tree when the gifts should be returned, how they should be packaged (most prefer them to be left unwrapped), and where they should be returned (usually back to the same location). And then . . . let the fun begin! Designate an amount of money that you want to spend on this child (2 Corinthians 9:7). You may choose to do this as a family project, with a friend, or you may allot some of your income to this project. Remember that you will be the primary gift giver for this child, so consider that when you’re out shopping. Most angels will have a short list of “want” and “need” items for the child, along with sizes for clothing and shoes. In the past, I’ve tried to evenly apportion my attention and money to both the fun “want” items and the important “need” items for the angel I’ve chosen.

When you are finished shopping, package the items however the sponsor wishes, and, most importantly, return them with your angel paper back to the appropriate location on time. If you toss or lose the angel paper in the process of shopping, there will be no way for the sponsor to locate which child you’ve shopped for (although they do often write down your name and the angel’s ID number when you select it).

And now it’s time to sit back and enjoy the thoughts of a less fortunate child getting to experience the joy of discovering unexpected and thoughtful gifts on such a memorable morning—and a parent who can delight in his or her child’s simple happiness, provided by a giving stranger.

Lisa Grimenstein


  1. Megan Reynolds says

    Another good place to look for your Angels to help is Children’s Hospitals. Sadly, many families face the tough choice of buying life-sustaining medicine vs. presents. Start by calling the main hospital operator and ask for either the social work office or their community outreach program. They should be able to direct you in the right direction. 🙂

  2. Angel Tree is one of my favorite parts of each Christmas season. Thanks Megan for the extra suggestion about checking with the Children’s Hospital. I never thought of that, but it’s an excellent idea!

    <3 Alison

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