Participants- Friends, Family and Community

Please share YOUR story! Email us at Please include your 1) name, 2) city and country. Also include pictures, videos and links!  Within a day or two your story will be shared in the appropriate space! Want to “Christmas Challenge” others? Visit our “You’ve Been Christmas Challenged” page and send them the link!

Christmas 2017

 Nathan Barnes  My family and I bought 7 boxes of food and are giving it to families that are struggling through Christmas.

Kadie and Family, Thunder Bay

What I did Last Christmas when I was still in the Philippines. Christmas is the time where everybody are happy and busy buying gifts to be given to your loved ones, friends and relatives. Parties everywhere and there are lots of goodies and presence underneath their christmas tree. On my part as a little girl…do you know what i did to make the less fortunate children in our neighborhood? I gathered all my toys and sorted them and decided to share these to other children. I cleaned and wrapped them one by one and I’m excited and happy doing it .I told my grandma that we will invite less fortunate children and have a little party for them and I will be giving these toys for them. I also ask my Aunt and Grandma if we could share a little food while we have fun during the party. When grandma said yes…I was excited to see the faces of the children. It was saturday afternoon when I called one of my classmates to gather the less fortunate children just living near our house. There were about 15 children attended our party. We have a short program ..singing carols, games, dance contest and after that I distributed the toys that I have wrapped and while they opened them happily we served sandwiches, spaghetti and juice. They were happy to have the toys and thankful for the snacks we served to them. Some of them were given with a used clothing as well…After the party they said thank you in a loud voice together and jokingly told me see you Kadie next Christmas and I told them..yes yes yes if I’m still here with you. I feel sad to know that this coming Christmas they will miss me but grandma and my aunt promised me to do a little party for those kids even if I’m already here in Canada. That was my happy Christmas experience that I will ever and always cherish. Making the less fortunate kids feel happy during Christmas. 😊

Christmas 2015

The Schiiler Family, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada  Our family participated in the Give 4 Christmas Challenge this year by purchasing a handmade throw, some new pj’s, as well as socks, underwear and other comfy items suitable for one woman and one girl. We’ve donated them to a local women’s shelter hoping to share the warmth of a hug this Christmas with those who might be in a difficult circumstance.

Muriel Corbierre and family, Oakville, ON, Canada My children are involved participants in our own catholic school’s Christmas giving initiatives.  They brought bags of groceries to school, to be delivered to the local food bank. We picked an angel card on the school angel crown and bought a gift that will be delivered to the recipient of the  angel card (a teenage girl). We also donated new toys to the firefighters during their toy collection. My kids have learnt that it is an awesome feeling to give.

Leah, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada Each year I give the gift of sharing. I do this by making ornaments & giving them to my family.

Rik Rowe, Arlington MA, USA Planning to give to those who cannot repay me and they will not know from whom the gift originated. It’s a tradition.

Rob Hole and Family, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 10.22.07 PMRob has built a few of these lately. Shelter House is in need of socks and underwear. Money from these trees will all go towards purchasing these items to go along with what we have already purchased. 



Jenny Emery and Family, Toronto, Ontario, Canada We will be donating all of our pre-loved winter jackets, hats and mittens to a homeless shelter that offers services to refugees, homeless families and singles in Toronto. 

Mrs. Zappitelli and Family, Grade 3 Teacher, St. Elizabeth School, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada Thank you to Mr. Cameron and Mrs. Barch’s classes for challenging me this weekend. On Friday, I came home and had a talk with my two boys (10 and 6) and told them that I had been challenged to do something to spread positivity and Christmas spirit this weekend. They agreed to take part in the challenge with me. We decided that we would do 3 kind deeds over the weekend. We got up Saturday morning and made cookies and rice crispy squares and delivered them to some of our neighbours. We asked that, in return, they do something kind for someone else over the weekend. We also brought some to a new family on the street and welcomed them to the neighbourhood. Next, we decided to contribute to Shelter House, as they are looking for toiletry items for their residents. We went out shopping and got some body wash, soap, shampoo and other necessities. We posted both of these deeds on FaceBook and asked other people to find ways to show kindness. On Sunday, we talked about what we could do for our third deed and my Six year old really wanted to give more cookies:) So we decided that we would ask others to add to our collection of things for Shelter House and we would pick them up from people’s houses and deliver them to Shelter House. Of course, we would give our helpers cookies when we went. So far over 50 people have read and liked our updates so we are spreading some ideas I hope. Even more importantly, since yesterday, we already have 6 people committed to giving us more supplies for Shelter House! I hope we get even more today. Thanks for encouraging us to do something kind-we really enjoyed our challenge. Keep up the great work St. Elizabeth School! As an extension, I will be challenging my class today. I will be asking them to try to do 3 kind deeds this week (either at school or home). We will keep track of the deeds in class and see how many we can do:) 

Rose Varga, SSP, St. Elizabeth School, Thunder Bay, Ontario
My oldest son was born 4lbs,2oz and 2 ½ months premature. I was discharged after a few days but my baby remained with the wonderful staff of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I was unable to buy a baby hat small enough for a preemie, so I crocheted one and placed it on his tiny head as he lay in the incubator. In the years that followed, my experience inspired me to crochet preemie hats and donate them to the NICU during the Christmas Holidays.

Thompson Family, Barrie, Ontario What a wonderful Christmas tradition in Mr. Cameron’s class. Congratulations on inspiring others to act as Jesus did and thank you for the challenge. My family is preparing and delivering dinner and treats for a family from our children’s elementary school who has a child undergoing cancer treatment.

Mrs. Bruno-Grade 1/2 Teacher-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada Merry Christmas everyone!! I will be sharing my gift by giving my dear friend who is also a shoe lover… shoes/boots to KEEP from my shoe collection!! Hoping she will enjoy them as much as I have!!!

Barb Rzeszut and Family, Thunder Bay, Ontario I was challenged by Dylan to share the gift of charity with an organization other than Christmas Cheer. I accepted Dylan’s challenge and in addition to collecting food items for Christmas Cheer with my class, my family made a donation to Toys for Tots. Thanks for challenging me Dylan, and now I will challenge four others. 🙂

Leigh Wood, Friends and Family, Thunder Bay, Ontario  Hi Grade Fives and Sixes IMG_1872 01of St. Elizabeth School! Thank you for the Christmas Challenge! I wanted to share with you our story of giving. This past week, approximately 20-30 teachers, friends and family members gathered together with gifts and gift cards to donate to two local families in need through the Children’s Aid Society. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of all of these women! We had so many items and gift cards donated that we decided to sponsor another family! It was a terrific evening of friendship and giving, and it really put us into the true spirit of Christmas! Keep up the tremendous work! We are so proud of all of you and your amazing school! Merry Christmas! 

Jeanette Tremblay, Thunder Bay, Ontario Thank you for this Christmas Challenge! My grandson Mason is in Mr. Cameron’s class at St-Elizabeth’s school. On Monday, I will be going with him & his class & other volunteers to the Shelter House to prepare a meal for the less fortunate. Their class is also planning a Christmas Craft sale next Wednesday. I will be going to help him at his table & very pleased to see that the proceeds will be going to the Shelter House. A few times a month, I volunteer at the Dew Drop Inn, we prepare one big meal daily & serve from 2-3:30pm.I feel honored to be able to participate in this challenge with my grandson. You are truly an inspiration! Good work!

Elaine Lynch, Thunder Bay, Ontario  My sisters and I suspended our gift exchange this year to opt for charity. We were given a family of 4 to shop for: toys, clothing, household items, gift cards and groceries. It is done and wrapped and will be delivered to them Dec 16. 

Ingrid Penna, Librarian, St. Elizabeth School, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada I completed my challenge last night.  Our family was invited to our neighbours for dinner.  I told my kids that they had to buy a book for the neighbours kids and read it to them.  My kids spread the love of reading!! Mission accomplished! I am also going to challenge 4 others to spread the love of reading any way they wish!

Mrs. Tremblay, Early Childhood Educator E.L.K.P., St. Elizabeth School, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada A big Thank you to my son Mason and his friend Evan for the Christmas Challenge and now I have the opportunity to spread good cheer. This year I am assisting my son Mason with his business through BizKids. I am making arm knit scarfs for him to sell at his grade 6 yard sale. The proceeds he makes by selling his scarfs will go to Shelter House. We will also donate the scarfs that are not sold at the Yard Sale to Shelter House. This year I would like to Challenge all staff (Teachers, Principals, Secretary, S.S.P., E.C.E., Custodian) to bring in 5 non-perishable items to add to the Christmas Cheer. It warms my heart to see everyone working together to make a difference to those in need.

Donna Kopecky Swan River, MB, Canada My family and I will make a meal for a person or family in need. 

Denise Corsini – ELKP Teacher, Our Lady of Charity School, Thunder Bay Ontario,Canada I have a 5 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. It is important for my husband and I to teach our children that it is better to give than to receive. This year, my children each got a shoe box and together we went shopping. They each picked out items to fill their shoe box for a little girl and boy that are same age as them. Together we filled the shoe boxes and donated them to Operation Christmas Child. They were beyond excited to help pick out items. It was a joy to see them so happy to be doing something kind for another child that they have never met. This is a tradition that we intend to keep with our children every Christmas. Keep up the great work St. Elizabeth. I am blessed to have worked at the school with all of the amazing staff and students. Merry Christmas to you all!

Mrs. Sicillano- Grade 5 Teacher- St.Elizabeth School – Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada Hello Mr. Cameron’s class!  I will be sharing my gift by giving Mrs. Bruno a free one hour personal training session (we will see if she still calls it a “gift” when we are finished…).  Great job inspiring others!

Shy-Ann- Singer/Song Writer/Teacher/Mom, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada  I am a new mom with a 7 week old, so it is a little harder to do my usual Christmas cheering.. but.. here is what I AM doing… I will be singing at a couple hospitals with the baby.. as much as he lets me.. and I also keep a stash of $5 bills and be sure to donate to every Salvation Army donation pot. I find it more effective then donating all at once. People see someone donate and it tends to make them more interested in donating.. 🙂 I’m on maternity leave as a teacher, but I’m still volunteering at my school to help with the Christmas concert… I’m not doing much, but, I’m trying.. 🙂 I feel this also will teach my newborn son about the gift of giving time and money when you can to make Christmas a little brighter for everyone.

Mrs. Stewart- Secretary- St.Elizabeth School – Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada  Christmas is a time for family and friends. Let us not forget the people who have touched our lives in many ways. Take time to visit or call who is on your mind to make their day special. Merry Christmas!

Cathy Bakich, Success by Seven Literacy Teacher- TBCDSB – Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada  Great work St. Elizabeth! It is so fun to see the students excitement in this project. My family and I love the holiday season. We enjoy the gift of giving…early in the season we begin to gather our winter jackets that the kids have outgrown and we donate them to Coats for Kids through our School Board. We donated 3 bags of clothes to the clothing drive through the Police department’s ZoneWatch where Grandma volunteers. Once Christmas Cheer began, the kids and I go shopping to pick out items to send to their class collections to donate. My boys also enjoy our annual tradition of donating to Toys for Tots through the Fire Department and even had a few birthdays in which their friends were accepting donations instead of gifts. They look forward to their Christmas hockey party, where the Northwood Hockey League collects food items from all families to donate. And last but not least, the holidays would not be the same without gather up out change to give to the Salvation Army kettle campaign. Just tonight, my son was beaming when he put money in the kettle and insisted we give more at the till when the cashier was collecting for Sick Kids. I love seeing my kids want to help others and hope they will continue to do the same as they grow up. Great job St. Elizabeth, you have a big heart!!

Mrs. Bragnalo, Special Education Teacher, St. Elizabeth School, Thunder Bay,Ontario, Canada Thanks for the challenge! My family and I have a few Christmas traditions to help spread Christmas Cheer. The first tradition includes my 3 kids and their 3 cousins. The kids each choose a tag with a child’s age on it, from the tree at church. We then, spend an afternoon buying gifts for the age they chose. The kids wrap the gifts and we bring them back to the church to donate to those who may not have presents to open on Christmas morning. The second tradition we started just last month. My family, plus grandparents and numerous cousins, aunts and uncles spent an afternoon cooking and preparing food at the RFDA. The food we prepared helped provide meals to hundreds of people. All people involved had jobs to do, including my 3 year old daughter who was responsible for scrubbing all the carrots. We have another day booked, closer to Christmas, where we will provide, prepare and cook the food at the RFDA for those less fortunate in Thunder Bay. Keep up the great work, St. Elizabeth. Merry Christmas!

Brandy McFarling My kids donated 2 garbage bags of clothes to Precious Bundles Children’s Clothing Assistance Program and were at a fundraiser for it that raised over $1200. I was so proud of them going through their clothes and saying ” these don’t fit, or I don’t need this, let,s help other kids out who don’t have these things.”

Christmas 2014

Frank Lacaria, Thunder Bay, ON-Canada Congratulations on a wonderful tradition! Your efforts will go a long way to making a change in our world. In my family, we choose a bulb from the Christmas tree at our church, 1 for each of our children, which indicates the age of a needy child. We then take our children and their cousins shopping so that the children can choose a gift for the bulb they chose. We then help our children with the wrapping and they deliver it back to the church. We hope that our children, as they grow, will be inspired to continue our tradition but also start their own and do more. Thank you for your inspiration and courage to help those in need.

 Reshan (Co-Founder of Explain Everything)-N.J-USA Thank you for organizing this effort! My family really like Toys for Tots – we are always so thankful and grateful for the gifts our kids receive at birthdays and the holidays, and we like to share those with those who may not have the necessary contexts to provide hoped for items to family members. There are so many ways to help people and this is just one way. We also like to believe that the spirit of giving is not just limited to the holidays but all year long. The holidays, however, provide a great opportunity to raise awareness of this kind of thinking and the possibilities it may lead to. Well done and thank you!

Judy Hole- Thunder Bay ON – Canada Congratulation St. Elizabeth’s on continuing with this wonderful tradition of giving back to those in need in our community. Our family has donated to the Christmas Cheer food drive at Whitefish Valley School which supports our rural food bank. I am also proud to say that my children, both members of the Elks Pee Wee A Blackhawks along with many of their other team mates will be donating their time in two weeks to help at the Christmas Cheer headquarters to unload boxes and help get things organized for hamper distribution. Merry Christmas and God bless!!

Delonna Halliday, Tacoma, Washington, U.S.A We are happy to support this small non profit in providing biosand water filters.  These filters clean water. So many children die of waterborne illnesses every day and this solution is so simple. The projects also provide jobs which leads to more peaceful communities. Since wood isn’t needed to boil water, it decreases deforestation. It makes our hearts happy to know we are literally saving lives. It is very empowering.

 Mr. Gerard Smith, Retired Teacher, Thunder Bay/Toronto, Ontario, Canada- SPARE CHANGE CHALLENGE! I’m asking all education workers currently working or retired to take the Spare Change Challenge. Collect any spare change you may have in your pockets, purse, car or anywhere else and put it into a container. I put my change in a can that I labelled SCC. If you can, try to do this daily.  On December 24th gather up your change and donate it to a worthy cause. It’s that simple and easy to do. I’m donating my change to the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle but there are many other agencies that need our help. This activity in giving will help make a difference in someone’s life so please take up the Challenge.  Get started saving your change, we only have 16 days left! Good luck , Merry Christmas and may God bless you all.

 Tania McDougall – Auckland, New Zealand Hey guys! Congratulations, and well done on such a fabulous initiative. I know there are schools here in New Zealand who run similar programmes at different times of the year. Christmas is certainly a wonderful time to share what you can with others less fortunate. Keep up the great work!

Sarah- Kuwait Congratulations St. Elizabeth students for being an inspiration to us all by helping others – the true spirit of Christmas! Here in Kuwait, many people move here from other countries to work in order to send money home to their families. They often go without so that their families don’t have to. As the weather gets colder (although not as cold as Canada!) the outdoor workers are affected the most. This year, we will be donating hats, scarfs, mitts & socks to the workers in our neighbourhood. Every little bit helps! Keep up the good work & merry Christmas!

Emily, Cousin and Gramma Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada This year after reading the Give4ChristmasChallenge Emily (a SK student at St. Elizabeth School) and her family started a new Christmas tradition! Emily and six of her cousins  decided that instead of buying each other presents,they would put the money towards buying groceries for Thunder Bay Christmas Cheer! Also, instead of getting presents from their Gramma, she decided to buy groceries too! Together, they ended up delivering $500.00 worth of groceries towards Christmas Cheer this year!!

Brian Priscott, Network Technician, TBCDSB, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada  Dear St Elizabeth Grade 6 Students, I’m very proud to support your efforts our family has given many and I mean many toys and goods to families this Christmas. I’m always proud to represent our schools and love to participate in such events. I accepted this challenge from Mr Cameron two weeks ago, and wanted to ensure I completed my challenge, before I posted. I hope others take this challenge and spread the good will! Keep up the fantastic work and positive movement in our community and around the world. See you soon!

 Ronalda Audley, Parent and Past Sytudent of St. Elizabeth School, Thunder Bay, Canada “Hi Mr. C : I have posted this page on my Facebook page and since I went to school there estimated 30+ years ago, I challenged all past students to this page and help this joy of giving! 🙂”    Ronalda and 2 former students of St. Elizabeth School donated a beautiful gift basket to use for our The staff  has decided to raffle tickets for the beautiful basket and the winner gets to “give the basket away”! The proceeds from the raffle will go to a needy local individual/group decided upon by our grade 6 students. Thanks Ronalda and friends for helping to make our GIVING SNOWBALL grow!

The Hole Family, Thunder Bay, ON, CanadaOur family is helping a young couple in need who do not have any family. Instead of a gift to our teachers we are donating two baskets filled with food and household supplies in the name of our teachers and all the fantastic things they do to help us learn. Britton Hole

Karen Craib, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada  I was asked to tell you what I’m doing this Christmas. I’m wearing my 18 year old antlers, which I received from a co-worker on my first Christmas without my Dad. I have a box of mini candy canes which I’ve been handing out to people at 2 local coffee shops – Seattle Coffee House and the Metropolitan Moose.I was just looking at Woman’s World magazine and read the following:“Enjoy a candy cane for instant smiles! The scent of peppermint is study-proven to light up the brain’s pleasure center, slashing stress 25%”. I spent this year going through cancer treatment. It was a challenge. I’m happy to still be here and I wanted to share that joy with strangers. Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas.