|   Posted: July 10, 2024

Children, parents and staff at Compassion centers around the world share the true impact of receiving Christmas gifts.

“I Had Never In My Life Received a Christmas Gift”

Children, parents and staff at Compassion centers around the world share the true impact of receiving Christmas gifts.

Photos and reporting by Javier Elis, Lina Marcela Alarcón Molina, Kevin Nyakwada, Gabriella Akpene Samaty, J. Sangma, Doreen Umutesi, Daniela Velasco and Alejandra Zuniga
Meydeline smiles while holding gift
Meydeline, 10, in Mexico gets ready to open her Christmas gift: a new pair of shoes.

The anticipation, the wonder, the joy. Children everywhere experience strong emotions when someone places a wrapped Christmas present in their hands. And for children in poverty — some of whom have never received a tangible gift — the experience can be even more powerful.

Hear from children, parents and Compassion staff around the world as they share what it’s like to receive and give Christmas gifts with the support of people like you. These gifts make an impact that lasts long after the excitement fades.


Child in santa hat hugs lady

“I’m so happy for the gift I received this Christmas. I love the shoes and shirt the most, because they are my favorite red color.” — Bonheur, 5

“It’s his first Christmas gift. It’s the first gift he has ever received. That’s why he is super excited. As a single mother, I don’t have the luxury of buying him a gift, as I get little money from digging (farmwork) to feed us.” — Annet, Bonheur’s mother

Fillette smiles with gift of an orange shirt

“Most of the clothes that I wear to church had become so old and small that at times I was forced to wear the center and school uniform to church. I’m so happy that I got a beautiful blouse and skirt as my Christmas present.” — Fillette, 9

El Salvador

child smiles and holds colorful gift

“However insignificant these gifts seem for other people, they represent a lot to our children because we cannot give them to them.” — Eva, mother of a child in Compassion’s program

“The Christmas presents are providing children with an essential need, such as getting new clothes or shoes.” — Jacob, pastor of a Compassion partner church


child smile wrapped in the gift of a blanket

“I am so happy to get the blanket this year. My brother and I can sleep snug when Mother wakes up to make breakfast for us in the early morning.” — Whochong, 12

“We enjoy seeing the children’s expression when they receive their Christmas gifts in their small hands. They literally hug their gifts with sparkling eyes full of happiness.” — Rakhi, center social worker


Pesi holds gift excitedly

“The gift makes me feel special. I started receiving Christmas gifts when I joined Compassion.” — Pesi, 7

“[A Christmas gift] shows them that God’s love for them is real. Also, that there is someone who cares about their wellbeing, despite the challenges they may be experiencing in their lives.” — Becky, Compassion center social worker


Jose holds gift excitedly

“I had never in my life received a Christmas gift. I didn’t even know what it was. My family and I just met with my grandparents and received hugs until I started attending the center, and I received my first Christmas gift.” — Jose, 8

“When I told Jose about the Christmas gift, he couldn’t stop smiling and jumping around the house. He was excited about it, and me too. It is happiness that you can’t describe when you can’t bring those kinds of gifts to your child.” — Magdalena, Jose’s mother

Burkina Faso

children hold gifts on top of their heads

“Children truly love Christmas celebration because they receive gifts that most caregivers cannot afford to buy for them.” — Pauline, Compassion center director


Eitan exictedly holds pair of shoes

“I really appreciate how they gave us the freedom to select the shoes we needed and wanted. These trainers are also meaningful to me because my little brother also exchanged his voucher for a similar [style] as mine, and we always wear them on the same day. Christmas for me means a gift from God.” — Eitan, 9

“That same day they gave me the blanket, I opened it as soon as I got home and used it to sleep at night from that night on. I am very grateful to have my first thick and warm blanket.” — Camila, 11

“Receiving this Christmas gift is the most amazing thing that happened to me this year. I always wanted a toy like this.” — Alfredo, 9


child holds gift of clothes

“I am looking forward to Christmas. It is the only time I am given new clothes and new shoes!” — Herve, 6


children hold nativity

“Children are so excited when they receive Christmas gifts. Curious, right then and there, they rip the package and open it. For some of them, it’s the only time of the year that they receive a gift.” — Alessandra, center director


Oly holds gift excitedly

“Christmas is about Jesus. Father God was with Jesus and told him he would never leave him alone. At Christmas, I pray to God to take care of my parents. I receive my Christmas gift at the center. Gifts are important because I can play with them!” — Oly, 7

“Without the center, my daughter’s Christmas would be different. I can’t give her something like the gift she receives at the center. … I am grateful to God for the center and donors who give all those gifts for my daughter.” — Irma, Oly’s mother

“We show them the love of God through a special celebration in which they feel happy and through a gift bought especially for them. For many children, receiving a Christmas gift makes them feel valuable.” — Jorge, center director

Share God’s Love Through Giving

child in santa hat holds gift and smiles

Give today to ensure every child gets a gift by Christmas!

child in santa hat holds gift and smiles