NORMAN — This Christmas marks the 15th year that Norman couple Mandy and Doug Haws have been “adopting” families for Christmas and providing gifts to those who may not be able to afford presents, calling it the “Reason for the Season.”
Mandy Haws said every year they contact the Salvation Army in Cleveland County, who processes requests from families needing assistance for the holiday, and get names of those who need some holiday help.
“We usually ask for them to give us names of maybe older kids or larger families,” Mandy said. “The ones who might be harder to get everyone adopted out.”
The tradition started after one Christmas the couple went to cookie parties, ornament parties, gift exchanges and more. After realizing how much money they had spent, they asked each other “shouldn’t we be doing something else?”
“We thought ‘what if instead of spending money on little stuff, we adopted families,’” she said.
Friends and family immediately decided to pick up on the tradition and each year the Haws put together a list they get from the Salvation Army and send it to all their friends. A Christmas party is planned and everyone brings their gifts for the families. Afterward, Haws goes through the list and does any fill-in shopping to make sure everyone on the list has a present to unwrap on Christmas.
She then gets her friends together to wrap all the gifts while her husband and his friends do a different kind of shopping for the families. Haws said he goes to the grocery story and shops for the families’ Christmas dinner and to help stock pantry items or other needed items like diapers.
Friday, they had all their friends with large vehicles get together to load, transport and drop off all they have collected for the Cleveland County families.
“We never have seen a family, never met a family, we just drop it off and go,” Mandysaid. “They take it home and have a good Christmas.”
While friends and family of the Haws’ usually help out four to five families every year with 30-40 people helping purchase the items, this year was different. Since it was their 15th year, she said they decided to help out eight families. More friends and family joined in to help with around 75 people purchasing gifts and items to donate for the special milestone.
“We couldn’t do it without our family and friends. I’m sure they think we’re crazy,” Haws said with a laugh. “But, it’s one of my favorite things to do.”
As the saying goes, giving is the reason for the season, and the Haws, along with their friends and family, are living by the motto.
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