$3 christmas!


EDIT: (almost midnight in Cambodia) HOLY COW, AWESOME PEOPLE. You just bought 330 (THREE HUNDRED THIRTY) towels for these precious kiddos in under FIVE HOURS.



If you didn’t get a chance to give, I have another opportunity coming up VERY SOON, okay? EVERYONE will get a chance on this one, I promise.

Original post (before you BLEW ME AWAY):

Friends. I’m so excited about something.

This is going to sound a little strange, but…

In the next THREE DAYS, I need you to help me buy THREE HUNDRED TOWELS. For THREE DOLLARS each.

Let me explain.

If you haven’t heard, our family is now officially part of The Hard Places Community, an organization here in Cambodia (they also do work in India, the U.S., and other places around the world) that provides hope for the hopeless living in the darkest corners of the world. We’ve been connected to HPC in all kinds of ways for over five years now, but it’s just been a couple weeks since we teamed up with them full time. (complete story here)

staff2Christmas is a big, big deal here at HPC. The excitement (madness) begins in November (if not a wee bit before), and the kiddos (and staff) are all gung ho about making Christmas decorations, learning Christmas songs and skits and dances, proclaiming Jesus’ birth, and gathering together for fun fun and MORE FUN.

If you’ve been around for awhile, you know I fit more in the Skipping Christmas Camp (or the Bah Humbug Camp), but I’m doing my best to embrace the season here in Cambodia (even if it’s 90 degrees).

christmas ballsAnd can I just brag on my brilliant friend, Ruth, who has been making hundreds of Christmas ornaments by taking little plastic ball-pit balls, covering them in glue, and rolling them in glitter? Christmas stuff–if you can find it–costs a million dollars here. (I saw a 5-foot white tree in a bookstore today for $188 and a 6-foot Santa for $185. Can’t believe I didn’t buy them.) But these balls? Are like 50 for $1 (or something), and glitter comes in giant bags for cheap. Yay!

Every year, HPC puts on a really great Christmas program at the Boys Center (girls are invited too!), and the kids are already soooooo excited about it.

girls1Different groups of kids will perform the Christmas Story and various songs and dance routines. There will be games and cake for Jesus. AND MILLIONS OF SMILES AND LAUGHS. We got to be a part of it back in 2011, and it was EPIC.

The staff also puts together a gift box for each kid (300 total—every child who came to the center throughout the year finds his/her way back for Christmas—kind of like Americans in church, eh?). It usually includes something healthy to eat, some fun treats, and something they can use.

towel2This year, one of the leaders at HPC has a little bit different idea in mind from what they typically do—something she would really, really like each kid to have, something they could use in many, many ways. Something most of them have never personally owned.

Their very own towel.

This is where I don’t want to do the cliche little humanitarian/missionary thing of, “Kids in Africa are starving AND YOU HAVE PEAS LEFT ON YOUR PLATE!”

Or, “hey, kids in America! Kids in Cambodia are happy with JUST A TOWEL FOR CHRISTMAS. What do you think about that??”

girls2Not necessary.

First of all, Cambodia is 98% Buddhist, so the vast majority of Cambodians have never/will never celebrate Christmas, so you can’t really compare.

But, on the other hand, many of these kids really will be excited about their very own, brand new towel. Some of them have never really had anything nice, and this will be special.

A towel can be used for drying off after bathing. Or after getting caught in the rain (for six months of the year here, there’s a downpour just about every day). A towel can be rolled up and used as a pillow. Folded up and used as a seat. It can be spread out and used as a sleeping mat. A towel can protect you from hot sun or cold nights (70 degrees is cold if you’re Cambodian). 

towel1And I can pretty much guarantee that these resourceful innovative kiddos will think of 50 more ways to use their new towels.

Practical ways, sure, and lots of fun games too. There will probably be a lot of snapping & sling-shotting. And maybe superhero capes. Who knows??

So. Friends. This is where you come in.

HPC would LOVE for 300 of you to donate $3 for a towel.

Or 150 of you to donate $6 for 2 towels.

Or 100 of you to donate $9 for 3 towels.

(You get the idea.)

And I would love love love if you’d get some kiddos involved (your own, your nieces/nephews, kids of friends). It would be really cool to get lots of kids buying these towels for other kids!

(But we want adult givers too!)

boys1I wish I were allowed to show you their beautiful faces after they receive their brand new towels, because I can almost guarantee the delight in their eyes would bring tears to yours.

I can–and will!–still show you pics though! Just not faces (for protection from predators who want to harm them—and just to respect their privacy in general).

If you’d like to donate $ for a towel (or 2 or 3 or 10), just click here, donate, and in the memo box, write HPC Christmas.

And then could you leave a comment (or shoot me a quick email) telling me you bought a towel (or 2 or 3 or 10) so we can keep a running total?

And spread the word if you could?

Simple! Easy! Fun! Awesome!

(I told myself I would NOT use the cliche–for less than the price of a peppermint mocha latte in a nondescript red cup, YOU CAN BUY A TOWEL FOR A BEAUTIFUL CHILD!, so I won’t.)



We only have THREE DAYS to do this, friends. (the 3 days is because the Christmas To-Do/Plan List is very, very long here, and this is one thing that needs checked off early)


Ready… Set… GO!!

43 thoughts on “$3 christmas!

  1. Pingback: a man and his camera | Marla Taviano

  2. Mel Schirtzinger

    Hi Marla,
    I am not great with social media or blog stuff, but I want to email you. Can you please send me your email address?

  3. Pingback: $3.50 christmas! | Marla Taviano

  4. jess

    yes, do keep us updated on more opportunities. 🙂 i wanted to ask the kids if they wanted to donate some of their own money to buy towels, but i forgot and now we missed the boat! this is really cool!

  5. Jeanine

    Donated 7 towels for our family of 7. Praying for all of the sweet kids who receive a towel, that they may know the love of Jesus in a tangible way.

  6. Cindy Schmidt

    10 towels!! I wanted to buy more but seriously didn’t want to buy them all so others could not donate – lol. I want to spread the towel joy !!

  7. Jennifer A

    Love this! Just sold a hooded towel, so I used that money towards 6 towels, from the 6 in our family. Wish I could do more! <3

  8. cyndee

    Missed the memo box so I ‘might’ have just given 9 towels (one for each grandchild), or just randomly donated to HPC. Either way…. 🙂

  9. Sue and Jay

    Hi, Marla! I love the idea of the new towels. Great idea, too, from the family of 6 who gave 6. There are 3 of us, so I donated 3 towels. 🙂 God bless you and your family! Merry Christmas!

  10. Megan

    Just donated 6, but will ask the kids tonight if they would like to donate from their own money, so I would expect some more from us!!

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