This year Santa will look a lot like Eric Marleau for one needy Ottawa family.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, Eric, a Media-X senior developer, will drive his sleigh, er Chevrolet, to the home of a single mother and her two young daughters, 7 and 11 years old. With the help of Matt Hayward, another Media-X developer, they will drop off a huge load of presents and everything needed for a sumptuous Christmas dinner (and breakfast)!

The Media-X Christmas Hamper – 2012 is almost ready.

“What’s a Christmas Hamper” you ask? Well, as you may or may not know, Media-X and its staff try their best to raise money and awareness through various charities and organizations throughout the year (remember Movember? Yeah, that happened).

Of course we try to keep up with it over the Christmas season as well. For the past five years, each and every time the Christmas season has rolled around Media-X gets paired with a “hamper family”, or in other words a family in need that could use a little help from others getting through the holidays.

Yes, “hamper” is a weird word, and yes it’s most often associated with laundry. However, we are not talking about shipping our dirty laundry to some unassuming family on Christmas Eve. Promise.

The hamper family program, through which we are able to provide a less-fortunate family with gifts and food for the holidays, has become a mainstay of Media-X culture with the whole staff chipping in. We have Bonnie Homewood, a Sales Executive, organizing shopping trips to buy toys for the children of the family and collecting donations from staff, we have Brent Blackburn, Manager of Customer Service and IT going grocery shopping for the family’s Christmas dinner and breakfast, and the rest of the Media-X staff making various donations and spending their lunch hours wrapping them all up.

It’s pretty cool to see everyone making sure that this family that they have never met not only has a Christmas dinner, but presents to wake up to in the morning as well (we like to throw in a little extra for breakfast on Christmas morning too, because hey, why not?).

Our hamper gifts under our very own Christmas tree ready for delivery!

In all seriousness though, with all of the stress involved with the holiday season surrounding last-minute shopping, visits from the in-laws, and having to keep your kids entertained for their two weeks off of school, it’s pretty easy to forget that there are many families out there who are simply worried about having enough food to keep themselves fed over the holidays, let alone provide gifts for others.

What is Christmas about if not to help those in need and make sure that everyone has a happy holiday season?

Kelly Pratt, Office Administrator and one of the key figures in organizing the hamper program here at Media-X shared her thoughts on the program;

“The best things about Christmas are seeing the joy in children’s eyes as they unwrap their presents and sitting around a dining room table with the family to enjoy Christmas dinner,” she said.

“I take pride in organizing the Hamper Program here at Media-X so that some less fortunate families can experience the same joy on Christmas day as we at Media-X do with our respective families.”

The Christmas Hamper Program is run by the Shepherds of Good Hope here in Ottawa, a largely volunteer organization that provides acceptance, hope, and support to those who are less-fortunate.

The Shepherds of Good Hope has offered this seasonal program for over 22 years to enable families in need to be provided with the makings of a full Christmas Dinner. The Christmas Hamper Program is open from November 1st to the end of December. Every year, approximately 1000 households receive a hamper from our program which operates in concert with the Christmas Exchange Program of Ottawa.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Media-X!