Each year over 2 million children in Compassion’s programs receive their very own Christmas present through the Christmas Gift Fund. For some children, it’s the only gift they’ll receive.

Ian’s eyes are wide as he talks about Christmas at his local Compassion centre. “I really enjoy the Christmas celebrations,” he says. “I get the opportunity to play with my friends, sing carols and thank God for his love and care. On top of that, I get gifts as well.”

For Ian, growing up in poverty in Kenya, celebrating Christmas is a new concept. Cared for by his Aunt Philgona, the family couldn’t afford to buy gifts.

“Celebrating Christmas is a very recent thing for us. The constant struggle to survive always overshadowed it,” says Philgona.

Through Compassion’s Christmas Gift Fund, each child Compassion ministers to has the opportunity to participate in the local church’s festivities, hear about the love of Jesus and also receive a gift of their very own. The gifts vary from country to country, and all of them are bought locally by our church partners. Here’s a peek at just a few of them!

Many children living in remote areas of Thailand don’t have access to safe and protective bedding, so staff organised warm blankets, bedding and protective tents for these children’s Christmas gifts.

blogChristmas 04 1200

Clothing is one of the most common gifts for children at Christmas; not only is it a daily living essential, it brings a smile to the face of children who love to show off their new outfit at the Compassion centre!

blogChristmas 05 1200

Seven-year-old Alexandra from Peru was overjoyed with her gift of clothing: “When I found my shoes and my dress, I felt like God heard my prayers.”

blogChristmas 01 1200

Staff will often identify practical needs including school supplies that can bless children. This student in Rwanda was given a new backpack for his studies.

blogChristmas 03 1200

At this centre in Ghana, the children received beautiful new clothes the previous year. As the children’s clothes were still in good condition and most families were struggling to provide enough food for their children each day, this church partner decided to give food supplies for a Christmas present.

blogChristmas 02 1200

In Indonesia, sometimes children receive vouchers so they can purchase a gift of their own choosing. "Last year from the project, I bought a school uniform with my Christmas gift. It made me happy to receive the uniform. My favourite subject at school is science,” says Juan.

blogChristmas 06 1200

This Christmas, you can help give children living in poverty a special Christmas to remember.

Your donation to the Christmas Gift Fund will go towards ensuring every child in Compassion’s program receives a gift this Christmas.

Words by Amber Van Schooneveld and Rebekah Wilesmith A version of this article originally appeared on the Compassion Canada blog.