This story was told to us by Hasna Jabrane, an educator at the Maison de la famille of the Centre communautaire Val-Martin.
Abdou was four years old when he came to the nursery school at the Maison de la famille. His family comes from Morocco where it isn't customary to celebrate Christmas.
“Santa doesn’t come to my house,” he said to me one day as we were decorating the tree.
“Don’t worry, Abdou. You can celebrate Christmas here, if you want.”
“But there’s no chimney! How will Santa get inside if there’s no chimney?”
“You’re right. Do you think we should build him one?”
And so, with the help of his parents, Abdou made a wonderful cardboard chimney so that Santa could come see us all here at the Maison de la famille.
Abdou counted the days before Christmas on a calendar. When the day finally arrived, he was starry-eyed with wonder. “Santa’s coming! He’s bringing me a present!”
And what do you know? Santa did make it to see us, and probably because of the chimney that Abdou built. Abdou also sang “Petit Papa Noël” with the other children, received his gift and ate some candy too. When it was time for Santa to leave to give out gifts to other children, Abdou tugged on his sleeve and didn't want him to go.
I was so happy to share this moment of Christmas magic with Abdou and his parents. That day, this little boy felt like he belonged, as he had the same experience as everyone else. This is what spaces like the Maison de la famille are for: to provide opportunities that families never thought were possible through celebration, fun, discovery, and exploration.
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