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After getting Globe Santa gifts as a child author gives back

Maria Marroquin, the author of "My Hair Is Magic," received gifts from Globe Santa as a child.  In October, she  helped raise funds for the program during an online book reading at the Boston Book Festival.
Maria Marroquin, the author of "My Hair Is Magic," received gifts from Globe Santa as a child. In October, she helped raise funds for the program during an online book reading at the Boston Book Festival.Maria Marroquin



For 65 years Globe Santa has been providing holiday gifts to Boston area children. In this time of heightened need, when 500 more families are seeking help this year, please consider giving by phone, mail or at globesanta.org.

Maria Marroquin remembers the magic of Globe Santa as a child. She recalls the excitement of ripping open a present, the anticipation of not knowing what would be inside.

One of six children, Marroquin had moved to the United States from Peru with her family a few years before her first Globe Santa gifts. Most of her Christmases up until that point didn’t include toys.

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“I do think sometimes as a child, as you start getting older, you start noticing the differences of what you have or what you don’t, and I think with Globe Santa, at least it helped kind of hedge that a little bit,” she said. “At least it made me feel better about something.”

Decades later, Marroquin is raising money for Globe Santa, giving back to an organization that she says gave her family so much.

Marroquin read her newly published children’s book, “My Hair Is Magic,” during a virtual program at the Boston Book Festival in October. All donations from the event went to the Globe Santa fund.

Her book is an “ode” to her daughter and her hair, Marroquin said, a lesson about being accepted and finding the language to describe and appreciate the things that make you different.

And it was a fitting book to read at a benefit event for Globe Santa, Marroquin said, because appreciating differences goes beyond just hair. It’s also about understanding the different situations families go through and “the disproportion of what one family might get versus another,” especially during the holiday season.

“Life is a rollercoaster, and sometimes you’re able to [donate] and sometimes you’re not,” she said.

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Marroquin has been teaching her daughters, ages 16 and 7, about privilege and the meaning of giving back to the community, especially to families who have less than they do. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of helping others even more, she said.

“I do think especially during this time, people feel so isolated,” she said, adding that Globe Santa helps “families alleviate some of that pressure, and I think it also just, right now especially, helps people feel like someone out there cares.”

Marroquin said she’s grateful for the experiences Globe Santa gave her as a child and to be in a position now where she and her family can give back.

“It’s a very powerful feeling as an adult, thinking what you can do for another child or another family,” she said. “I am grateful just for any program where people are able to reach out to others especially in this time.”

Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com