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Christmas Carnival

4 December 2005

I dragged the kids to a Community Christmas Carnival.
A friend handed me the flyer and I thought I’d check it out. It was absolutely fantastic! There was a merry go round, bouncy castle, camel rides, jumping bungee thing. There was live music, cute performances, face painting, kid tattoos, balloons, animals to pat, drinks and ice cream.

And it was all free. FREE. I kid you not.
They were giving away FREE ice cream! To kids! The madness!

I arrived, completely prepared to spend a fortune. In fact I WANTED to spend a fortune – ANYTHING to keep the kids entertained. I even stopped by the bank to draw out some cash. But they didn’t want my money. I kept looking for signs at the stalls, and kept asking people how much things cost…

Thus I was really suspicious. What was the catch? Were they going to hand out little red Bibles? Were they going to shepherd everyone into a hall to collect a donation? Weren’t they even going to take down our email addresses?

Callum went on some rides, patted some animals, ate a hotdog, gawked at the camels, got a tattoo, a floating balloon, a balloon ladybug, and an ice cream. Sean sat happily in his stroller for the whole time, watching the world go by.

The sun began to set. The crowd grew bigger and bigger. We found a tree, a little way from all the action. We sat and ate our ice creams. Sean chuckled at the ladybug. Callum turned to me and said, “Hey mummy, I’m having so much fun. Thank you very much! I really like ice cream. I’m really happy.” It melted my heart. It was truly a lovely moment. And there was something really nice about the whole carnival – beyond the free stuff – I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

When I got home, I looked up the organisation on the web.

Communicare is a 100% Western Australian charity that relies on the generosity of community members to help support disadvantaged individuals and families in times of crisis.

Man… I felt sooooo bad. We are hardly disadvantaged. And no where near a crisis! What was I doing eating someone else’s ice cream? I was humbled. Grateful. Indebted. And slightly embarrassed.

The site doesn’t really say how to donate, but there’s something about a Christmas Appeal that I’ll definitely look into. Hmm, that’s a nice idea. I wonder how I can teach Callum about “giving” this Christmas…