An invitation to the SPECIAL CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PARTY has arrived and you are wondering “What’s it all about????”
You probably know who organised that you receive the invitation – it will be your child’s teacher, medical professional, support group co-ordinator or someone else who provides support to you and your family.
Just so that you know, the criteria for receiving an invitation are:
Age – birth to 12 years of age (actual age not intellectual age) Diagnosed with a life threatening illness or an illness that requires significant on-going medical treatment or hospitalisation – eg heart defects. A physical or intellectual disability ascertained levels 4,5 or 6.
A verified diagnosis of a disability recognised by Education Queensland and eligible for EAP. This includes ASD/Aspergers, HI, VI and SLI.
In the Northern Territory only, a limited number of invitations are made available to children living in severely disadvantaged circumstances.
OK, so now you understand why the invitation arrived.
What do I do now?
There is no need to R.S.V.P. but if you can’t attend the event, have received invitations for the same child from different organisations or simply don’t wish to attend, please return the invitation(s) you don’t need to the organisation that sent them and they can be re-issued to someone on the waiting list.
Make a note in your diary or on the family calendar so that you don’t miss the day.
Watch your child’s excitement build as the day approaches.
WHAT HAPPENS ON THE DAY
The details for each Party are different but in general, this is what you can expect and by the way it’s all free. There is no provision for handling money on the day.
You will be greeted outside the venue and stickers will be placed on everyone in your group. This is one of our child safety measures so that we can easily identify why each individual is on site. Security may question anyone who is not wearing a sticker.
The venue will be set up with all the static displays such as military vehicles, emergency vehicles and whatever else is offered to us; amusement rides such as jumping castles and a merry-go-round even rock climbing or mini golf if it’s available; arts and crafts tables; face painters; and a stage. There will also be food and drinks with a snack bag provided for each invited child that will contain items such as a sandwich, fruit, juice or milk and maybe a treat. There will also be a sausage sizzle and cold drinks available for the whole family … oh, did I mention you are welcome to bring the family along to enjoy the fun? Please do. There will be volunteers all over the place who are ready and willing to help in any way they can. The stage show will have started and will continue throughout the Party with music and magic and maybe a celebrity or two! Please come in and enjoy everything the day has to offer.
About an hour or an hour and a half after the official start time, Santa will arrive!! He will go on stage to greet the crowd and then take up residence near the Toy Room. “Toy room?? How does that work??”. When you were lined up at the gate, someone will have come along the line to have a chat and to mark your invitation. You will have been asked which was the invited child and his or her age. We will also try and gauge if there is a reason why the gifts we have selected for the different genders and age groups may not be appropriate for the child. Sometimes this is straightforward – when we can see hearing aids or other aids or physical representations of a condition – but sometimes it really helps if a parent tells us. For this reason, you will be asked a question like “Is there any reason why toys for a ?? year old may not be appropriate for your child?” If there is a reason why – for example, there is no point giving a visual gift to a child who is visually impaired – we will mark the invitation as GROUP 1.
When the children with an invitation marked Group 1 come into the toy room, we have a one-on-one conversation with the child and the parent or carer about the child’s interests and abilities and we will then try and match the best possible gift with the child. For this reason, Group 1 takes quite some time to progress through the toy room and the queue can be long and slow and we will serve ONLY Group 1 at this time even if there are siblings with invitations marked with other group numbers.
Children with invitations marked Group 2 – 7 will receive a sack filled with gifts we have pre-selected. All these groups are served simultaneously which is perfect for families with more than one invited child. The queue moves very quickly and all children leave with their gifts. ALL the gifts we supply are first quality and selected with great care each year to ensure we add to the enjoyment of the day. We will still be able to serve Group 1 at this time.
After receiving their gifts, the children have the opportunity to see Santa and have a quiet chat with him. If you intend to take photos with Santa, we ask that you have your camera or phone ready so as to minimise the waiting time for the other children in the queue.
If you feel the gifts your child received are not appropriate, then you are welcome to re-visit the toy room AT THE END OF THE PARTY to discuss an exchange. It is not always possible to do this but we do ask that everyone has a first trip through before we make exchanges. Rest assured that we will have more than enough gifts with the surplus being distributed to local hospitals after the event.
“My head is spinning with all this … what do I really need to know??”
We understand that this can all sound a little daunting but the general idea is this –
The day is designed to be a great big party for up to 1000 invited children who might not otherwise get to go to a Christmas Party where they are made to feel welcome are not judged and where everyone is dedicated to making it the best day of the year for the kids and their families.
Your local business community has made the whole thing possible by financially supporting the event. Thanks to their generosity, everything is free at the Party. Please take a moment to look for our Certificate of Merit in the businesses you visit and just say ‘thanks’.
YOU MUST BRING
Your Christmas spirit
THIS MAY MAKE IT MORE COMFORTABLE (just remember there will be that sack full of toys to carry out at the end of the day) – Something to sit on – a picnic blanket or chair that is easy to carry.
A picnic basket for the additional family members. We do supply extra food but are never sure just how big the family groups will be.
Wear cool, comfortable clothes and shoes … and make a decision about sun protection for the family.
If your child has difficulty dealing with large crowds or noise, you may like to consider arriving at the venue in time for Santa’s arrival. We suggest this only if it makes life more comfortable for the child and for you. The event is totally inclusive and, if your child does find it confronting and melts down, you will find that people are willing only to help and not to judge.
GENERAL RULES REGARDING INVITATIONS
Only the eligible child receives an invitation but family members are very welcome to come along to the event.
The invitation must be presented on the day to gain entry to the venue.
If the child is ill and unable to attend, a third party is able to collect gifts on behalf of the child but this is not intended as an excuse to not bring the child as we believe the event is an important social opportunity not just a toy giveaway.
NO invitations will be available for collection at the gate. Invitations will be mailed to you approximately 4 weeks before the Party date. Please return any excess invitations to us for redistribution.