Make a wish come true by creating Christmas magic for homeless children

There are millions of children without families on this day

Jodie-Lee Torlage

Published Dec 21, 2023


It’s Christmas morning. All eyes in the house are wide open before the sun rises.

The squeals of delight echo through the passageways to awaken parents in the hopes that Father Christmas made it down the chimney the night before, bearing gifts from each wish list.

The shrieks get louder as each child sees the perfectly wrapped present, the bicycles with bows on, and the remains of Santa and his elves having been there the night before.

Wrapper after wrapper comes off, and so begins the much anticipated Christmas celebrations, where family and friends come together, and eat in abundance, laugh in abundance and create another year filled with magical memories.

Except, this is a movie. There are millions of children without families on this day.

They don't have the joy of waking up with the many presents under the tree, the big home cooked meal and the magic of Christmas day.

Over 600 000 children in South Africa (I believe these statistics are grossly incorrect) go to bed hungry each night. How would such a family have the resources of making Christmas magical when bread is a treat.

One of the places in our city, creating magic in the hearts of so many children, is HOLAH babies and special needs home.

At HOLAH (house of love and hope), our main belief and fight is for each child, a family. Simple right?

If only the magic sprinkled around the world on Christmas day could make this wish come true.

If only the conversation around the Christmas table was about how magic really is spread, and how the joy of this season is not found at the bottom of a Christmas stocking.

It is found around tables, in a home and surrounded by families. Where tables are extended, not just for a day, but for always. Where children are welcomed into homes and families regardless of what the system says and regardless of what they look like.

Perhaps the magic of Christmas isn't about the star at the top of the tree, perhaps the magic of Christmas is allowing someone a dignified meal, a hot shower or generously giving to those in need.

Or maybe, just maybe, the magic you spread around your own tree, can be the start of magic in the spaces you touch.

HOLAH is a safe space for children in need, a stop off on their journey whilst their destinations are being decided.

But, for some, this stop off will be a forever home. HOLAH advocates wholeheartedly for the best interests of each child, some of them being adopted, some reunified and some living here full time.

However, the goal remains the same; for every child a family.

The circumstances surrounding so many of these precious children are sad, scary, and traumatic.

Whilst so many wish for a perfect gift, so many more, just wish for a family - a piece of magic so many take for granted.

If we could encourage one thing this festive season, it would be - BE THE MAGIC.

Don't expect your Christmas tree to be the one thing that fills hearts this year. After all, it's about the moments and memories around that tree that really matter. This is something so many don't have the privilege of being a part of. Open your homes, open your hearts, and allow the children in need in our city, the very gift of having a family, and you may just be surprised at what magic really feels like.

Jodie-Lee Torlage is a mum of three and an adoption advocate, HOLAH (House of Love and Hope) ambassador, and fighter of justice.

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