For our offspring, Advent and Christmas Eve are more than just a festival with a lot of baggage. We discussed the topic with the kids during a cozy handicraft session in the SOS Children’s Village Burgenland.
The SOS Children’s Village in Pinkafeld (Burgenland) is located on a small hill. From a distance we see children playing tag, and as we get closer, one of the boys can’t stop and lands on my feet. We smile. We didn’t expect such a stormy welcome. The boy looks up briefly, says “Hello!” – and is already gone again, following his friend. The two obviously don’t have time to do handicrafts with us. Other kids like Emilia (11) do instead. She doesn’t do much with horses, she explains to us, but she likes dogs and unicorns. And Noah’s favorite animal is the lion. The seven-year-old proudly reports that he had recited a poem to St. Nicholas the day before. He’s too shy to repeat today. But the fact that St. Nicholas hasn’t visited us “Krone” people does concern him.Angel made of paper platesTogether with teacher Jennifer (26), we are making an angel out of paper plates today. There’s cutting and gluing, binding and painting. And besides? Biscuits nibbled! Which do you think tastes the best? “Here,” Noah calls – and you can just see the last tip of vanilla crescent disappear into his mouth. She also likes Emilia – and Linzer eyes. So it’s no wonder that the cookies that the kids baked together are almost all gone.The meaning of ChristmasDo you know why we celebrate Christmas? Noah is silent. Emilia nods: “Yes, Jesus was born there.” When we ask what the best thing about Christmas is, Noah suddenly perks up and exclaims: “Presents!” We smile. Did we expect something different? If we could have, Emilia shows us. The girl makes it clear: “Yes, gifts. But also that everyone is there together.” It’s great when everyone in the children’s village celebrates together, she says. And then it’s also nice when the family is together. The offspring have nothing against a Christmas tree either. Noah wants red balls, tinsel – “and should stuffed animals be on it too?” we ask stupidly. “Yessssssssssssssssssssssss!” he says and his eyes light up. In the meantime she has made her angel a glittery face and long glittery hair. The halo is still missing. SOS Children’s Villages Burgenland manager Marek Zeliska has already shaped it – and puts it on Emilia. The girl has to laugh and her warmth is infectious. “My angel’s name is Emma,” she explains. Noah, who gave his handicraft a glittering mullet – because “glitter always works,” says teacher Jennifer – doesn’t want to tell us the name of his angel. But for the fact that he doesn’t have a girlfriend yet and what’s on his wish list: “A robot dog that barks.” And what about Emilia? The girl wants to “finally go ice skating”! The first SOS Children’s Village was established in Imst (Tyrol) in 1949, founded by Hermann Gmeiner. The four principles are decisive: mother, siblings, house, village. Today, SOS Children’s Villages is represented in 137 countries and operates more than 550 villages as well as over 1,500 other child and youth care and family strengthening programs. These include kindergartens, schools, social centers, medical centers, emergency aid. SOS Children’s Villages is increasingly becoming a local social provider with various forms of care – this can be short-term, long-term or even mobile. The aim is always: to do justice to being a child and family. More information about SOS Children’s Villages and the various donation options can be found here.