Christmas is a popular event and celebrated nationally in Japan, but the concept of giving during the event still has room to grow. Book Santa project hopefully inspires those who want to give during the holiday season.
Book Santa started in 2017 as a social contribution project which people can participate in during Christmas season. In this project, children’s books, purchased at registered bookstores, are donated and distributed to those in need, such as families that struggle financially or have survived a natural disaster, the recent torrential rain in western Japan for an instance.
Over the years, NPO Charity Santa (the host of Book Santa) has witnessed the overjoyed faces of children when volunteers disguised as Santa Claus deliver books on the night of Christmas Eve. The project makes heart-warming memories for hundreds of families facing challenging circumstances. A total of 2,180 books have been donated and approximately 2,000 children have received picture books since the project began.
In 2008, Charity Santa first introduced the concept, sending Santa Claus to encourage underprivileged children on Christmas Eve. A volunteer dressed as Santa gave letters from the jolly old man himself and distributed presents to each child, all funded by donations to the charity.
As of 2019, the project has spread to 26 prefectures. Donors are able to contribute books they have purchased at any of the 282 partner bookstores in Japan. Over 15,000 adults have performed as Santa, delivering an unforgettable experience to children throughout the country.
From gifting the book at the bookstore, to delivery on Christmas Eve. (Image: charity-santa.com)
This year, the third year in its current form, large chain bookstores such as Maruzen and Junkudo have decided to take part in Book Santa, making the project even more convenient for donors to pitch in. Donations can also be made through an online bookstore, Honya Club.com, and a crowdfunding site, CAMPFIRE. The donation period for this holiday season continues through December 24.
According to Charity Santa’s mission, it aims for a society full of people like Santa: people who can act on compassion. The project reminds us to be compassionate everyday and believe that each of us can lighten up someone’s spirit by giving a little. As the holiday quickly approaches, Book Santa is getting ready to make more children smile this year yet again.
(This article was originally published on Zenbird Media.)