The working poor hold a special place in my heart, maybe because I grew up this way. The adults in the family work at jobs that compensate them poorly so that these people can never really get ahead despite their best efforts. Often they make just enough to disqualify them from assistance programs. Each Christmas we informally “adopt” a working poor family and anonymously leave them gifts to make their Christmas just a little more abundant.
This year we couldn’t find a toy that we wanted to give the youngest child. Instead, we painted a set of wooden blocks for him. Gathered around the table two or three at a time, we would relax and talk while we added bright colors and swirls to the blocks of wood. In the days leading up to Christmas the family room felt like Santa’s workshop.
Lining painted blocks up side to side to add the coat of sealant I imagined the boy’s chubby hands building and knocking down hundreds of creations. I pictured all of the family as they found a mysterious gift meant just for them. There is a transforming power in giving for the sake of giving, expecting nothing in return. That power is love. It was there at the first Christmas and it is here today.
Merry Christmas, Little Guy. I hope you build something truly wonderful.
The “How To”
Take a standard set of wooden blocks
Embellish with acrylic paints, allow an hour drying time between base coat and decorative painting on top
Using a paint pen for outlining between colors if desired
Coat painted blocks with a single coat of polyurethane to seal and protect paint. Fully covering two sides at once insures fewer streaks and leaves enough of the block dry so that it can be held without smudging tacky polyurethane.
Fun paint ideas: use metallic paints or paint in leopard print or zebra stripe patterns
Sharing @ Mama Kat’s: Christmas gift for a child