Lastega ja lastele

Auhinnaga „Lastega ja lastele“ täname ja tunnustame inimesi ja organisatsioone, kelle uued algatused või pikemaajaline tegevus on positiivselt mõjutanud laste ja perede käekäiku.
Tunnustusauhinna taotluste voor on avatud 15. aprillini.

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News from the elves’ workshop: how to pack 20 kilos of dumbbells, a saw, and a flower pedestal

What do you need to wrap a thousand presents? Well, first you need the presents, of course. A thousand presents, to be precise. Then you need bright-eyed packers. For the packers to be able to transform a heap of toys into presents, paper, cellophane, ribbon, tape, plastic bags (especially for sleds), and of course coffee and pastries are required. And they also need a room where all these elements can be assembled. Particularly good results can be expected when the source of motivation is a noble goal, for which all are happy to make an effort.

I know it is hard to believe, but all these elements came together in our elf office in only seven December days. Our elf office was located in a secret place, the façade of which had a well-known name attached to it with huge letters as a smokescreen. In this secret place, the packing room was simply called the “elves’ workshop”. I can lift the veil a bit and say that the elves in our workshops were volunteers from ETK staff.

The noble goal that motivated everyone was giving a real Christmas to a thousand substitute home and safe house children. And from the eyes and the words of the elves it was apparent that it worked! For example, there was elf Anne, who began her packing on the first morning by admitting that she is more of an amateur packer and was thus afraid that her gifts would not be beautiful enough. Anne’s hands even started to shake because of this. The same fear was encountered again over the period of seven days; although, for the most part, it was unfounded. The packages were quite exceptional once they reached the heap of presents.

And when someone got stuck, there was always someone more experienced in the workshop, ready to offer a helping hand with a difficult packing problem. For instance, Natalja. If you have not wrapped a thousand presents, you can’t possibly imagine how many different shapes there are for things! For example, experts were asked how to wrap a saw or what kind of package should a flower pedestal have. Or what kind of paper should be used for 20 kilos of dumbbells.

There were many moments when four hands could be seen working on a single present. Teamwork was a success. Even the sight of six hands working with one ribbon, as witnessed by the author, was not unprecedented. It was a perfectly normal sight in the elves’ wrapping workshop.

If the thousand presents had arrived at the workshop all at once, we would have had to think about ordering construction elves and moving the walls. As this would have wasted valuable wrapping time – Christmas parties are almost here! – logistician Maarja took care of the constant inflow of colourful stuff, which was later wheeled out of the door as even more colourful presents. Maarja’s team also included assembly elves that located the right item from the huge storehouse, according to the letter sent to Santa, and put it with the things for other children of the same home. Presents for one home have to be redeemed in exchange for verses all at once.

There was never too much papering or wrapping muscle, and every day the girl who took care of order and safety in the house stepped inside the workshop, went to the wrapping table without any unnecessary talk, wrapped three-four presents, and went back to her post.

Of course, you cannot forget coffee and pastries. Even elves have to draw some extra strength from somewhere, along with knowing that bright-eyed children are waiting on Christmas Eve by the Christmas tree. And believe me, elves like coffee. The days always included a short coffee and pastry break, and a pause for thought. Scissors that had become burning hot with cutting could cool down and pieces of paper floating in air could settle down on tables.

And when the last box was brought to the workshop for wrapping, this was first greeted with a sigh of relief: we made it in time. This was followed by a moment of silence, interrupted by the rustling of ribbon rolling on the floor. And then it was noisy! Why no more gifts? We want to pack more! We want to bring joy!

Calm down, dear elves! Let us rest for a year, and then a new heap of presents will roll through the doors. Merry Christmas!

Tauno Tõhk,
volunteer photographer for the elves’ workshop, responsible for capturing pictures of every gift and uploading the photos to the Christmas tree website for the donors to see.

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