Who are the elves?
Hopefully you!  The “elves” are the volunteers who purchase, wrap and deliver the gifts to the coordinators in preparation for delivery.

What is a wishlist?
This is the list of requests from your senior.

Do I need to get everything on the list?
No, you can get as much or as little on the list as you would like.

Do I give the gifts directly to my senior?
No, for the privacy and safety of the seniors our elves are not able to meet their senior.  This gift is anonymous.  You are able to sign the card with your first name or “Santa’s Elf”

Can I have the same senior I had last year?
Your coordinator should contact you when he/she has the wishlists available.  Sometimes this is possible, however sometimes our seniors move or pass away so it is not guaranteed.  Please ask your coordinator if you are able, and he/she will do his/her best to meet your requests.

How much money do I have to spend?
While there is no minimum or maximum, we suggest approximately $35 to spend on your senior. 

Some of our seniors are bedridden.  These homes request a nightgown that allows the patient/senior to be bathed or receive medication while respecting their dignity.  These gowns are expensive at $90. If you are able to spend a little more on your gift please let your coordinator know.  The past few years we have been fortunate with financial donations and generous elves and have been,  able to fulfil these requests.

Do I have to wrap the gift?
Yes, the gifts should be wrapped and tagged as requested by your coordinator

Do I have to add a card?
The gift must be tagged/labelled with the seniors name and residence – this can change depending on the residence.  When you get your seniors wishlist, there will be instructions on what to write on the label.  It is preferable and meaningful to add a card.  Some families have their children make a card; some add the card they send out to their own families.  As long as the gift is labelled, it is up to you.

Can I add my contact information on the card?
No, please do not add your contact information on the gift or card.   

Where do I bring the gift once it is ready to be delivered?
Your coordinator will tell you where to drop off the gift.  They will also provide a date that the gift must be delivered by.

I speak another language.  Can I request a senior who speaks my first language?
You can request it, however, please note that as a volunteer organization we cannot accommodate many of these requests.   Sometimes, we work with community centres, such as the Good Companion Centre, who do not house the seniors or know them, or their first language.  Christmas Smiles for Seniors is largely English, however, we have several French speaking seniors.

Can I organize a group of people to participate?
Of course!  Friends, family, workplaces, church, community groups – these are all great places to ask if anyone else would like to participate. 

How can I coordinate gifts for my own home?
Contact Christmas Smiles for Seniors here.  We do ask that in your first year as a volunteer you coordinate your group with a Volunteer Coordinator.  If you enjoy it and it fits in your schedule, request your own home at the end of the season.  We will put your name on the list for the following year.  Coordinating your own home is a big responsibility and we want to ensure you are well prepared for the tasks at hand.

How do you find seniors?
We contact seniors residences and senior communities in the Ottawa area.  If they meet the requirements, we ask if they would like to participate.

I’d love to do more! Can I join the Christmas Smiles for Seniors team?
We always need more volunteer elves to help support this event and the seniors in need.

Can I help in the seniors home? 
Unfortunately, our program does not coordinate volunteers to go into the homes since this type of initiative is regulated by government who have strict guidelines on who can work or volunteer.   Please don’t let this deter you from considering another volunteer role in a seniors residence or community. Try contacting Volunteer Ottawa.

 If you have any other questions please click here, we happy to help!




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