CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — For those who observe Christmas, the morning of Dec. 25 is the pinnacle moment that ties together the magic of the season in one festive bow.
It’s a day that instills joy and belief into children, eagerly awaiting to see what gifts Santa has brought down the chimney. But for widowed or single parents, it can be an emotionally taxing and difficult occasion to navigate.
“Just to hear the single and widowed parents’ stories of, you know — they would do anything just to provide their kids some joy,” said Kelli Snyder. “And until a week ago, I didn’t realize how detrimental it could be to children to be so excited for Christmas morning or the holidays, and then not get to watch their parent open anything.”
Snyder launched the Central Texas branch of “Fairy Godmothers” this month, an organization aimed at providing wrapped holiday gifts for single and widowed parents navigating the holiday seasons without a partner. The concept originated last Christmas season in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, created by Nikki Maucere after her husband passed away.
Snyder learned of Maucere’s efforts this holiday season and signed up to become a “fairy godmother” for a woman in the Dallas area. After hearing their stories of the unforeseen challenges and emotional toll of buying and wrapping their own presents after losing a partner, Snyder said people in the Central Texas community could benefit from this same concept.
“I didn’t realize how depressing it could be to have to shop for your own gift, wrap your own gift, place it under the Christmas tree and then act surprised, just to see your child smile like that,” she said. “That just speaks to me.”
For Cinderellas and Cinderfellas who’ve applied to the program, Snyder said Fairy Godmothers place an emphasis on gifting them things they not only need but also the personal gifts they desire. For parents who’ve entered survival mode to provide for their children while navigating grief, she said she hopes it acts as a small token to remind them of their value.
Applicants are asked to fill out the wish list with favorite colors, likes and dislikes, gift ideas and personal details to help their godparents deliver a tailored, custom gift. In just over a week’s time, more than 50 Cinderellas and Cinderfellas have been matched this holiday season.
One of these standout moments of the program, Snyder said, are the recipients who have then turned around and become a fairy godparent for someone else navigating their same adversities. In the season of giving, everyone should feel as though they are seen and loved, especially amid times of personal grief and loss, she said.
“These parents, they have stories; they want to be heard; they want to be seen; they want to be known,” she said. “And we want them to know that they’re loved.”