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Christmas in the City This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     "Itcame without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes orbags! And he puzzled and puzzled and puzzled some more and he puzzled three hourstill his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas was alittle bit more."
- The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Ever sinceI can remember, the vision of Christmas in my head is of a mile-high pile ofgifts. Although I'm not an only child, my over-zealous aunts and uncles have beenknown to go overboard with the gift-giving thing. Afraid of my becoming spoiledor that I would misunderstand the true meaning of Christmas, they came up with away to help me understand that Christmas doesn't come in a gift-wrapped box.Their solution? Christmas in the City, a non-profit organization that every yearthrows a huge Christmas party for homeless inner-city kids.

In 1989, 168kids gathered at City Hall Plaza in Boston to participate in the first annualChristmas in the City. This small group was served a holiday meal and each childreceived a gift. Although it was small, my parents, the head honchos, looked onthe party with pride and joy, happy and hoping for an even bigger turnout thenext year.

Thirteen years later, Christmas in the City is still goingstrong and only a few changes have been made. In 2001 we moved to a conventioncenter to accommodate the 1,800 kids expected to show up. I'm sure they neverimagined it would come to this. The children and their parents arrive by bus inthe morning, have a quality meal and then ... Santa!

Santa flies in onhis sleigh (really a cherry-picker) and promises each child a gift of his or herchoice. Then the Winter Wonderland opens, with pony rides, a gargantuaninflatable slide, free haircuts and much more. The look on the children's faceswhen the doors open to a day full of face painting and gymnastics is enough tomelt even the Grinch's heart. Because of my family, I've learned to appreciatethe true meaning of Christmas: helping others is the best gift you can give.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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