Sorry I had to pull my recent post about wrapping gifts for the Palama Community Christmas Party. I didn’t know that the generous company and its employees who helped with wrapping gifts and decorating the gym had asked for total anonymity. After our Palama staff told me that, I thought I’d better pull the blog right away.
The Palama Christmas party is one of my favorite events of the year. There was so much excitement and anticipation as the keiki and their families lined up all around our football field.
The party was, as always, a resounding success. About 500 – 700 families attended and every keiki under the age of 12 received a wrapped gift from Santa. (Mahalo to Toys for Tots!) For many of our neighborhood keiki, this will be the only gift they receive this year.
Palama Settlement scholarship students volunteer as Santa’s elves, running back and forth with age- and gender-appropriate gifts for each child. This year we gave out 45 scholarships – a record number – and each student volunteers to give Palama eight hours of volunteer time during the year. The party is one of their favorite volunteer opportunities.
After the families visit Santa, they go into another section of the gym for entertainment and lucky prize drawings.
Entertainment is provided by keiki hula, fire dance and other cultural dance groups from Palama and the housing projects we serve.
We receive an amazing outpouring of gifts from companies and community groups. Bikes, bags of rice, stuffed animals and baskets of toiletries are among the most coveted gifts.
The Palama Settlement Community Christmas Party epitomizes the Christmas spirit for me.
– Paula Rath