When should I send a Christmas card to my child?

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I'm a new sponsor and I understand that it takes a few months to get mail to the little girl I sponsor in Guatemala. Does this mean that I should be mailing her Christmas card now? Does it take as long for monetary gifts to be received as letters? I just don't want her to be getting holiday things earlier or later than the rest of the children at her center.
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Rachel Hoffman

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Posted 4 years ago

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Teresa Dawn

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If you are sending a Christmas monetary gift as part of the Christmas fund, it goes into a joint fund that provides all the Compassion children with Christmas gifts, whether they are sponsored or not.  The Centres usually throw a Christmas party for the kids and give them all a gift at the same time, regardless of when you send the money.  If you are sending it as an individual child gift so that it goes 100% to your child only, then you have to pay more attention to the timing.
Unfortunately while it can take 3-4 months, I find sometimes they do get there sooner and there's no real exact guarantee on how long monetary gifts, letters, or cards will take.  Some of mine get there very fast, some take the full 4 months.  I guess the translation process and the snail mail post just sorta run on their own time table, depending on the quantity of letters received at any given time.  If you want to be sure they arrive BY Christmas and not later, I'd say now would be a good time to send!  If you are also worried about them arriving too early though, there's no real way to plan for that other than to wait a bit and hope they arrive on time. 

Myself I personally send Christmas cards etc around the start of October.  I've had about 50% of the ones I send at that time arrive around Christmas (judging from reply letters).  But I also have had some of them arrive sometime too late (in January) and some arrive very early (November).  (And a few that the letters aren't dated so I'm not sure)

I'm guessing that, at the centre, not all the children's sponsors will send at the exact same time, so Christmas cards will arrive at different times for different children, and most importantly know that your child will be so happy to receive it whenever she gets it that it's not going to matter to her if it's a little bit early or late. 
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Emily

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Hi Rachel! Thank you so much for wanting to bless your sweet girl in such a tangible way. We encourage our sponsor's to send Christmas cards to their children no later than October 31, to ensure they reach your child in time. Just to clarify, all letters and gifts take 2-3 months to reach your child. Just as Teresa said above, when you donate to our Christmas program, all contributions made will be compiled into a big pot and distributed evenly among all of the children in our projects. Each project will purchase gifts of equal value and age appropriate for the children. We do it this way to ensure that every child whether sponsored or unsponsored, can receive a gift for Christmas. Your child will always be told that the gift she receives is from you. 
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Nikki Berns

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I had this same question, and now I'm kinda sad I missed the reasonable deadline. I work at a major retailer, and none of the Christmas/Winter-themed stickers or paper were available until middle November. Now it's almost December and I'm ready to mail my Christmas gift to Akula Sree in India, but as I read I realize she will probably not receive this until January or so. Does this happen often? I don't want Sree to feel left out on Christmas just because I didn't pay attention to mailing deadlines! Is there any way to let her know she has gifts coming? (I found scrapbook stickers of snowflakes, Christmas trees that she can decorate with sticker ornaments, and snowmen she can build! And of course I made some paper snowflakes with scrapbook paper :) )

And one more question that is semi-related: how do I know which name my child goes by? She is listed Akula Chandana Sree, but is always referred to in her packets as Sree. I wrote my first letter "Dear Akula", but decided to try "Dear Sree" for the second I sent. One of my coworkers became a sponsor and her child goes by the first name listed. Are names in India similar to China (i.e. "Fa Mulan", surname listed first)? Thanks! :)
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Hi Nikki! Regrettably, there is no way to quickly let your child know that you are sending something for her for Christmas. I would just encourage you to go ahead and send it, and even though it will be late, it will still be exciting and a huge blessing for her to receive! What a fun package you have put together for her! She will absolutely love these stickers and activities. :)

Your child's personal name is listed as Sree so I would recommend addressing her as Sree in your letters. For more information on names around the world, I would recommend reading this thread. Let me know if you have any other questions. :) 
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Mellanie McCreary

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Emily, what are the unsponsored children told about where their gifts came from?
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Hi Mellanie! Unsponsored children are told that their gifts are from someone who loves them very much. The center staff are empowered to communicate where the gifts come from to the children in whatever way makes sense in their context and also according to the age of the child. These gifts are given at a special Christmas Celebration in which the Christmas story and gospel message is shared so the giving of gifts is also typically a part of the whole message and experience for the children.
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Mellanie McCreary

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Thanks!
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Reva Gray

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Hi Susan and Emily, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!! After reading other posts, I see that we sponsors all have the same problem, and that is timing. I sent my monetary Christmas gift online to my sponsored child , and also one for her family's needs, before the deadline of Oct 31st. This was not to your general Christmas fund. I may have been confused by that deadline (which seems to have applied to the general fund and I thought it was for all Christmas giving). Now I am worried that her family won't receive the money in time for Christmas foods and family gifts. Is there any way that I can find out if they have received the money? I know my card via snail mail is late. I also wrote her here on the website but doubt that either of the letters will arrive in time. So all my hopes are on the monetary part reaching them. I indicated that it's use be for whatever brings them joy for Christmas and am hoping that at least that personal message gets through by Christmas. Can you help me? thanks for all you do
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Haley, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Operations

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Reva, thank you so much for your generous gifts! Gangoobai and her family will be so blessed by you!  I see that we did receive those gifts on October 31, which allows us enough time to get those to family by Christmas. They are likely receiving their gifts within the next week or two! The families do not mind if they do not receive gift and letters exactly on Christmas; they are so blessed and thankful to receive them at any time!
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Reva Gray

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Thank you Haley! So the answer is that they might have gotten it in time, but we aren't sure? this provokes next year's question. If I were to have sent Christmas money in September and designated it to be given to them in the week of Dec 15th can that happen or do they just receive it "willy nilly" whenever the system is able to crank it through?
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Reva, 

We normally say that it takes seven to twelve weeks or two to three months for monetary gifts to be delivered. It takes this long because we send all monetary gifts with the next monthly support wire in order to save on wiring fees. Here is an example of the monetary gift timeline for
delivery:

Gift posted to your account: October 12

Gift sent with monthly wire to the Country Office: November 22 -28

Gift is received and is listed on the Gift List at the Country Office: December 1

Received by the Student CenterDecember 10 – 15

Gift Received by the Child/Family: December 15 – 31

This means that ideally, monetary gifts that are not sent through the General Christmas Fund would be sent in September or early October to ensure arrival in time for Christmas. However, as Haley pointed out, each gift is a huge blessing to the family and they will still greatly appreciate it even if it arrives just after Christmas or in the New Year. 
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Reva Gray

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Thank you Susan. It's a learning curve for those of us that are new at this. Next year I send it in Sept. This year I can only hope that they got it Dec 15-31. love and happy new year to you!