Teens Deserve Christmas Magic, Too

Local charity needs holiday donations for older children

By Courtney John, Current Staff

The magic that helps Santa’s sleigh fly on Christmas Eve is the same magic that allows families with insufficient resources to receive gifts over the Christmas holidays.

The Gingerbread House is a local organization whose goal is to provide each and every family in Washington County an equal opportunity to have a perfect Christmas. Headed by Linda White, the Gingerbread House is in its 14th year of providing Christmas miracles. It aims to provide new presents to every member of the family, including parents.

White says that children have told her that they would like to give up their toys because, “Mom and Dad have no presents under the tree.”

However, White acknowledges a large absence in one particular area of donations: There are few available gifts for adolescents and teenagers.

This room at the Gingerbread House will alone serve about 160 families.

This room at the Gingerbread
House will alone serve
about 160 families.

Families that wish to donate to the Gingerbread House are encouraged to think about gifts for adolescents as well as smaller children.

Christmas should provide the same joy and excitement for a high school student as it does for a child, according to White.

“To me, it’s just as exciting for a teenager as it is for a three-year-old, to have something under the tree,” said White.

Speaking to the East National Honors Society last month, White said that the best way to shop for teenagers is for the shopping to be done by teenagers themselves. While older generations may not be tuned in enough to the pop culture and trends of today’s adolescent generation, teenagers themselves are actually the best candidates to shop for their peers.

Organizations like the Gingerbread House are able to fill a need in the community.  Originally serving just 50 families, the Gingerbread House expanded to serving 568 families last year, and about 500 this year.

After families pick up their presents and load up the car, they are given an additional gift—a shopping spree in the Gingerbread House General Store. Rooms upon rooms are filled with necessities: hats, coats, toys, blankets, dishware, bedding, and everything else imaginable. Eligible families are encouraged to take anything they might need, all at absolutely no cost to them. This incredible generosity is not only heart-warming to see, but also very beneficial to the community.

The true spirit of giving has taken root in Washington County and now, many more families, including teens, will be able to experience a joyful Christmas.

(Photograph by Courtney John.)


Filed under Community

2 responses to “Teens Deserve Christmas Magic, Too

  1. Sally Heuer

    As a follow up to this story…The West Bend High Schools Culinary and Childcare Skills classes hosted a “Breakfast with Santa” on Saturday, December 7, 2013. Assisting with this endeavor was DIVA and the orchestra. A donation of $1014.00 was made to the Gingerbread House as a result of this annual event!

  2. Terry Brace

    What a wonderful service to the community. Thanks for writing this Courtney!

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