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The Christmas wish tree is made up of the dreams and wishes of children in shelters and substitute homes, sent to Santa Clause. To make sure that these do not just remain dreams, pick a gift from the Christmas tree and make a donation to the best of your ability.


Christmas wish tree: “I finally got it! Thank you!”

The “Christmas wish tree” project of SEB Heategevusfond was held already for the tenth time this year, bringing Christmas joy to the children growing up in shelters and substitute homes operating all over Estonia. This year, the wishes and dreams of nearly 800 children came true with the help of good donors.

Christmas party is one of the dearest and touching get-togethers of the entire year – not only children look forward to the party, presents and Santa Clause, but also the educators and foster parents. Broadly speaking, the Christmas parties and traditions are similar in the families, still each of them have some nuances of their own. Even Christmas preparations varied slightly in every family.

HELP! – I haven’t chosen my dress yet!

For sure, there is always hustle and bustle in every family the day of the party, and the wait for Santa to come makes both, the big as well as the small ones anxious. Rooms were enthusiastically tidied up, Christmas tree decorated and gingerbreads cooked. And, like magic – in reality with joint efforts of the children and foster moms-educators – the tables at homes were filled with gingerbreads and all the good stuff.

Girls in the kitchen round were worried about managing to do the make-up, hair and HELP! – the dress is not chosen yet! Men in the family mostly stayed cool the day of the party.

In every family there were one or two kids or groups of kids sneaking to the window from time to time to see whether the elf had already come or whether Santa was approaching. And then he came – in some families with heavy steps, in others silently together with a snowfall. Although bigger children do not believe, or perhaps do not believe in Santa anymore, even their cheeks start to flush when Father Christmas in his red suits appears behind the door or window. And when Father Christmas finally walked through the door, a big smile appeared on the faces of all children and grownups.

Presents for Santa Clause and elf-joy

Celebrating the Christmas – Santa-elves, presents and reading poems – is an annual tradition, however we don’t have to do everything the same way each year. By keeping the tradition, but with a new approach, we can make the day even more special; In one or the other way, by enjoying playing the elves together or by doing it bravely alone, like Ain. Father Christmas is like a dear family member in this boy’s family, coming to visit once a year from a far-away land. This is why Ain made him some presents in return. Santa Clause was very happy and read a poem to the boy as well.

Every kid knows that Santa Clause is always very busy and that’s why there are elves who bring the presents to some families. But it may be also the case that children themselves are elves at Christmas Eve. Instead of a big feast table, one family set up small tables, seating 6-8 people. Just like in a cafe! Everyone could choose their favourite table and companions and food was served together. One of the guests played an elf, who delivered the first present. The child who received the present became a new elf, delivering a present to the next kid. This way every child could be an elf and listen to the poem read or a song sung by another child and feel important in this role.

Every present found its right owner

While the reactions of teenagers to the presents in some families was rather modest, then smaller children rejoiced freely and genuinely. Little Sofia, who lives in a shelter together with her two brothers, wanted a doll stroller from Santa. It was fantastic to see the big smile on the girl’s face when she opened the present. The favourite doll was immediately put in the stroller and the girl took care of her baby throughout the evening, taking quite long walks. And when going to bed, Sofia insisted that the stroller must stay next to her bed, so she, as a new mother, could see her baby at once when waking up.

Getting a present was a real surprise for the brothers Kristos and Andreas and the joy could be seen in their eyes. The evening was filled with helping each-other with the Minecraft and Playmobile Legos and this in turn meant that the smart devices had been forgotten for the day. It was so exciting to play with the Legos. Furthermore, the educators saw that the boys have a creative mind and can play nicely together.

Tiit said that he already knows in which shop to use the gift certificate of Kaubamajakas. As the young man will soon start his independent life, he will probably pay a visit to the Jysk store, since this is the place where you find a wide range of items you need for your home.

Children with more practical gifts immediately started to try them out – headphones, loudspeaker or makeup products were all given their first test. Smaller children, to whom Santa brought a toy or Lego-set, played peacefully in the Christmas spirit till late at night. It was almost shame to go to bed, as they were right in the middle of a game.

Gratitude and silent joy

Although the Christmas wishes were discussed with the children beforehand, it was still nice to see their reaction to the presents: for example, a boy, who likes different board games, was dreaming about “Monopoly”. He did receive it, but was sincerely surprised. When opening his gift, he said: “I didn’t think I will get this bigger game as it is pretty expensive!”

A girl who got fancy headphones, shouted of joy, as these were exactly as she had hoped. After having received the gift, she sat in her room and listed to the music for a long time.

Reaction of a young man to the loudspeaker: “It has great bass sound!” And for your information: if a young man says that the perfume he received is “ok”, then that says it all – he liked it!

A child from an extremely complicated family of origin, who is afraid of touching and, if possible, will rather say something mean than good (child’s defence reaction, to which the educator really wanted to tell the kid that the world is not always mean and disappointing) approached the educator quietly, put his hand on her shoulder and said: “THANK YOU!”. This is the moment when no words or overwhelming reactions are needed.

Also Johanna caught the eyes of the educators with big and genuine emotions. When getting her present from the Santa Clause and opening it, she understood that she had finally got her very first own mobile phone. This, how Johanna, sitting silently and looking at the telephone, wiping off tears from her cheeks, was one of the most beautiful moments of this family’s party.

The youngest of the family, Mart, got a tent and mattress. Throughout the evening we could hear Mart ask: “When will summer come?”, When can we go camping?”, “Can I sleep in the tent tonight?”

Be it small or big children, whether or not they believe in Santa, getting their desired present will still make their tiny hearts happier.

Lots of good plans

The presents were unwrapped with excitement and there was a lot of joy. The next day, it was sorted out who got a doll and who the stroller – now plans had to be made how and when to go for a walk with the baby. The discussions were also about how to take care of the baby and what had already been done incorrectly... Also tiny Liisa got a stroller and a doll. She walked her baby around the house with rattling noise all evening. Now, the girl has to learn how to hold and keep her baby – you cannot leave the child unattended for a moment.

Bigger girls were doing her hair all the evening and looked really fancy. They would have loved to work on the educators straight away, but finally it was agreed that they will get hair crimples for the New Year.

Sander played with his Legos throughout the evening – he was building and could not be heard at all. Kadri showed everyone her binoculars and explained how to watch with them and how close everything becomes with them. The girl soon travelled to the support family at the countryside for the vacation and took along the binoculars to watch birds and animals over there.

Karoliina used her new makeup kit already for doing the makeup for her dance school’s Christmas party and it really turned out well.

Gift certificates made their receivers happy – in a family where the boys specifically wanted gift certificates, these made them truly glad when a more expensive than expected gift card dropped out of the Christmas package. They immediately began to discuss how much they had to contribute to get the desired item from the shop.

Presents were immediately taken into use

The children couldn’t wait to get the presents and everyone had their poem ready and read it either by heart, from a paper or smart device. Not everyone is a performer. Yet, each child has a gift they can use to impress the others. Those, who did not have a poem, did sports – push-ups, crouches or cartwheels. One family was surprised about the child’s beautiful singing voice, which now can be further developed.

6-year-old Violetta got help from Raigo (who was visiting his former home during the Christmas party) in assembling her doll house received as a gift. This was such a thrill for the girl that she did not dare to go to sleep that night but would have stayed up playing.

15-year-old Karina is very pleased with her ukulele – she has managed to give already several concerts to her family. 10-year-old Alesandr immediately made use of his face paints, doing a great Christmas drawing for himself as well as for other kids. 17-year-old Kenneth fell asleep at the night of Christmas party with his new headphones on.

Anna wanted an electric toothbrush – and it popped out of the package. Anna immediately rushed to brush her teeth. She promised to brush her teeth very often from now on and showed everyone how beautiful her teeth are. Also, Taissia wanted a toothbrush, but first she read through the instructions, then went to brush the teeth and was really satisfied with her present.

Eerik got an electronic toothbrush as well. When the girls tried it out how the toothbrush works, then the boy gave lengthy consideration to it and read the instructions thoroughly. Then he told everyone how the toothbrush should be used. It was good to see how happy a practical and really desired gift can make a boy! Now, it is much more exciting to brush the teeth. The other boy in the family finally got lights for his bicycle, which he had long dreamed about and promised to mount them the next day.

Virgo received the long-awaited welding mask, which other kids could try on as well. Despite the holiday season, the mask was already in use the next day.

Little Tarmo got from Santa a big car with remote, which he let the other boys try as well. The boy was happy since he had never before had such a big car.

Little Arnika got a much-awaited doll Elsa. “Elsa is good and can sing as well,” said the happy girl.

“This is exactly what I wanted!”

Children are very social. Santa Clause gets lots of hugs and questions each year. Having received their packages, children started to peek what’s inside. Louder cheering, checking and playing began after Santa was sent on the road again.

Children’s eyes were shining: the faith of the little ones in Christmas and Santa Clause deepened, bigger ones smirked kindly and cleverly, as the presents were exactly what they had wished for. The youngest girl of the family hopped around with her hopper animal till late hours. The racing boy, who received a remote-controlled car, played only with the car during the next days. The boy starting school in autumn went and still goes from time to time to pet the schoolbag he got as present. The schoolgirl, who got earphones. is listening to and searching for music suitable for dancing while not disturbing her roommate, who is colouring the book she received from Santa. A couple of little doll moms are great and caring when dealing with their toy-children.

Little Daniel got a racetrack with a small car. With a smile on his face, he examined his new toy and wanted the educator to assemble it. Later, he sat on the floor and rallied happily the car on the racetrack.

Andreas got a soft Paddington car on a bike for a present. When unwrapping the gift, he cheered happily: “I finally got it, I wanted that bear for myself.” The joy was even greater when the bear started to cycle around on the floor. The entire family was excited about the new toy of Andreas.

Joy lasts longer

Ene got a Dora puzzle. As soon as she had unwrapped the present, she sat down at the table and started to complete the picture. The girl was kept busy for the entire evening, being also joyously happy about her new puzzle.

Taisi got a singing bird in the cage. The bird was signing while changing the colour. The child’s mouth fell wide open. This is how excited she was about the tiny songbird.

Cäroly was really looking forward to her power bank and when she opened her present, she almost screamed of happiness, as she never expected to get a such a powerful power bank. As a bonus, the power bank had a flashlight. Cäroly immediately started to charge the power bank and said she cannot wait when she can take it along to the camp.

Silver got a big sandbox truck and a teddy bear, which the boy immediately seated tenderly inside the truck and started to drive around the family house. There was joy for the entire evening. The next day the truck was taken outside and the boy could shovel snow into it. Shouting and excitement lasted for several hours.

Sandra wanted to take a bath after the party and played with her new robot fish for a long time, while laughing loudly. The new toy amused the child greatly.

All kinds of surprises

The brothers Reinis and Renee had the same wish – wireless earphones. When they saw their presents, they were a bit disappointed, since how can the desired earphones fit in such a small package. Neither of them rushed to open the present, but as soon as the presents were unwrapped and it appeared that the earphones can be folded together and are even cooler than they had initially thought, a big smile appeared on the boys’ faces. Immediately, both of them put their earphones on and connected to their phones and happily listened to music while doing other things.

Renzo was really expecting his skateboard. The boy was afraid that there might be some small skateboard inside the package instead of the desired one. But as soon as he got his present, it was obvious that it had to be the proper one. However, the excitement was even greater after unwrapping the present, since the skateboard really looked cool. Renzo loved that the surface was rough as sandpaper, as this will keep him from falling off. Naturally, he immediately tested his skateboard in the room. Yes, it was rolling really well. Then he picked the skateboard up and started to examine it and discovered that the skateboard also had lights. Renzo was very pleased. He kept walking around in the room and told everyone that he had the most expensive present.

Jaana was truly looking forward to her hair crimper since she wanted crepe curls for the party to be held the next day. When the girl opened her present, she immediately showed everyone that she got pink hair curler and run to the mirror to try it out. She curled her hair for quite a long time, since this is a time-consuming process. Finally, Cäroly went to assist her, as it is very difficult to curl all of one’s hair alone.

Juulia was really happy for her doll head. She thought she will get a head where you can only try different hairstyles, but she was very surprised to find from the box also a makeup palette and beautiful stickers. Her sister Jaana showed her how to brush the beautiful hair of the doll and Juulia thought that the curly hair of the doll still needed some more curls, but got in trouble with the hair rollers since she thought that curls can only be made with curlers. Even the other girls were baffled. Then the foster mom had no other option to go and help the girls and show how to make curls with hair rollers. It was a really big surprise for the girls to hear that it is reasonable to leave the rollers in overnight. Juulia left the doll with rollers on the cupboard and started to put on lipstick and paint her eyes – oh what giggling and twisting started now in front of the mirror!

By the end of the day, all children were tired and very happy.

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