Walking around this past weekend, you heard the question everywhere:

“What would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas?”

It’s the hot topic on every pint sizer’s mind. And their parents’, too. It’s part of the charm of the holiday season. Writing a letter to Santa. Putting out the cookies. Excitedly trying to sleep.

We all know that Christmas isn’t just about getting everything you ever wanted. But in all the present-anticipation, the giving part of Christmas might be hard for a little kid to grasp. So why not start a new family tradition this year? Adopt a family and help teach your child about making the world a little brighter for others.

The Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance (DBFA) has launched it’s 2010 Adopt a Family program. DBFA is partnering with Wolfe Street Academy and George Washington Elementary School to provide holiday gifts to some of the families at these schools and to support other extracurricular activities, such as a Saturday School, Food Pantry, Patterson Park Elementary Soccer League, a Mexican folkloric dance group, or transportation to orchestra rehearsal. Both schools have a majority of students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch. Although the schools work actively to assist families, many live with issues of food and clothing scarcity, as well as overcrowded housing.

Here’s how it works:

  • Fill out a short form on the DBFA Website from now until December 8, 2010

  • You will receive a wish list via e-mail from a local family in need. It will include details on each child’s age, gender, clothing size, and a list of items the child might like (as indicated by the parent)
  • Purchase one gift for each child in the family. You may purchase a gift on the wish list or something else that is age-appropriate for each child. You are welcome to purchase additional gifts for each child or a gift card for the family from, for example, an area grocery store, but there is no expectation to do so.
  • aMuse Toys of Fell’s Point (1623 Thames St), aMuse Toys of Quarry Lake (2576 Quarry Lake Dr), and Ladybugs & Fireflies (1049 South Charles St) are offering a 10% discount on gifts purchased as part of this program. Bring in the family’s wish list to qualify for this discount
  • Deliver your items (unwrapped) to either Wolfe Street Academy (245 S Wolfe St) or George Washington Elementary (800 Scott St) on Friday, December 17 between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., or on Saturday, December 18 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Families will pick up your gifts on Sunday, December 19 between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. You will be given the information about which site you will use for drop off when you are matched with your family.
  • If the drop-off dates and times absolutely do not work for you, contact DBFA at adoptafamily@dbfam.org about making alternative arrangements to deliver your gifts. All gifts must be received by 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 13

We just got our family assignment: three children. On the top of all their lists? A new coat. Needless to say, the coats have been bought and we’re working on a few other things, too.

If the thought of taking on a family seems a bit financially daunting, why not adopt one family with a bunch of friends?

Photo Credit: Image from the DBFA Website