Shopping for the dreams of others

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When I picked a tag off of the tree, I’ll be honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew I needed to find a pair of snow boots for a 14-year-old girl. My husband picked a tag too, his wish to fulfill? A nine-year-old boy with a special request for a John Cena action figure and some warm clothes.

Tags in hand, we took to the stores. As we shopped, we imagined ourselves as the children we were shopping for. Stepping into their shoes, we wondered what would make their Christmas the best it could possibly be.

For my husband, this was easy–he still remains a kid at heart. We tested the warmth of clothing, found a reasonably priced hat that also looked cool and a pair of sweat pants, just as the nine-year-old requested. Yet, moving onto the John Cena action figure, we found many stores were out of stock–panic hit. But a quick phone call led us to a wide variety of options. Anywhere from a pocket sized personal action figure to one that was two feet tall. We decided upon one that would also allow us to get a second action figure as Cena’s opponent. After all, you need more than one wrestler to actually wrestle.

The hunt for boots for a 14-year-old girl was a lot more challenging. Store after store we found the prices too steep or the boots to be of poor quality. Finding a balance between price and quality seemed to be an impossibility. It left us to think, no wonder she was hoping somebody would be able to provide a pair for her. It took several trips to the store, but after searching high and low, we found a good pair, and some lip smackers to boot.

It was a wonderful experience for the two of us, by choosing to purchase presents for someone we didn’t know and who might not get presents otherwise, we were able to dream together. What are these children like? Do they enjoy school? What are their hobbies? Do they have siblings that they share with? How can we bless them the best way through our gifts to them?

Additionally, it helped us to change our perspective. We paid close attention to the quality of products as well as the price. It helped us to better understand why it might be difficult for families to fulfill children’s Christmas wishes.

If you would like to participate in the Angel Tree Program, stop by either of the Rochester Perkins locations or Shopko North to pick up an Angel Tree tag and begin your own Christmas adventure.

Please drop off your unwrapped presents at the Salvation Army office (20 NE First Ave) or at Shopko North by 4 p.m. on December 21. The Angel Tree program is a wonderful way to return to the excitement a child has at Christmas time as you search for quality presents that will bring a heart full of joy and gratitude as they are opened on Christmas morning.

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We are Haley and James Earley, a family of two established on October 11, 2014 in our hometown of Rochester, MN and now living in St. Paul, MN. We are dog-lovers, coffee addicts, tree-huggers, balance-seekers, community-livers, and new foster parents. We live in a house of three adults, three dogs, and our sweet foster kiddos. We desire to slow down in this fast-paced world in order to pursue intentional community as we seek after the heart of God. We're just one couple trying to figure out this whole living life thing.

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