A High River woman originally from Mexico City was touched by the Magic of Christmas when she arrived in Canada.
Elizabeth Vigueras says she and her three daughters arrived here in 2008, a couple of years after her husband, who had been hired to work here.
She says although she could speak English when she got to Canada, she still found conversations a challenge and experienced feelings of isolation as she and her family adjusted to their new home.
However, she says there were many supportive groups at her door when she arrived and the Magic of Christmas was one of them.
Vigueras says her experience with the Magic of Christmas gave her an understanding of some of the traditions of her new home.
"For us as Mexicans, we believe in baby Jesus," she says. "And when I saw this big bus coming with the real Santa and the elves and all the presents it was like, 'Oh, now I understand what it means to be around the Christmas spirit in a Canadian way."
The Magic of Christmas Foothills delivers gifts to referred families in Okotoks, High River, Black Diamond and Turner Valley. Gifts were wrapped last week and this year's delivery of presents took place on Saturday, December 16th.
Vigueras says she still doesn't know which agency referred her family to the Magic of Christmas, but it helped spark in her a desire to continue giving to her community. That's why she works to support other newly-arrived Mexican immigrants as they settle in to their new community. She has since referred families to the Magic of Christmas and also helped out as a volunteer gift wrapper.
"I think the Magic of Christmas is giving you this sense of taking care of others, sharing, having this commitment, being a part of this community and becoming community builders in some way," Vigueras says. "It's not only about the presents and the joy coming to share this Christmas spirit with you, it is to be conscious that you are part now of the amazing society that works all together and builds all together to make it better.
"It doesn't matter if you were not born in this country, you are welcome," she adds. "That makes me feel a big commitment in my life."
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