SYCAMORE – Santa might drive a sleigh with eight reindeer, but the Jackson family is a little more modern, they use a GMC Denali.
Brian Jackson drove around with his wife Heather, their three daughters Izzie, 16, Cece, 14, and Finley, 14, and their son Beckett, 10, early Tuesday morning to deliver coats and boots to families in need on behalf of the nonprofit organization Goodfellows.
The Jacksons, who live in Sycamore, have been volunteering their time to deliver presents for at least 10 years. Heather used Beckett’s age as the range, because she knows they’ve been doing it since before he was born.
The whole family and its neighbors have the same goal, Brian said.
“We all want the same thing,” he said. “To have a Merry Christmas.”
Finley was happy to get up for the familiy’s yearly tradition. She knows the importance of giving.
“Everybody’s not as fortunate as we think,” she said. “Just because they don’t have what we have doesn’t make them any different than us.”
Brian described one challenge – finding the exact addresses of the families – as a puzzle.
“It’s like a game, a puzzle,” Brian said. “Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?”
Brian, who used his phone’s GoogleMaps application to find where people lived, said Tuesday would be a day for the search engine to shine. Heather agreed.
“We will see people looking and peering at apartment numbers as they drive with big red and green bags,” she said.
The Jackson family did the same thing.
Once Heather said that, the prediction came true, because later on that street, near University Village in DeKalb, the family passed another car, with green and red bags, which was parked at the curb in front of another apartment.
The thick foggy weather, with temperatures in the low 40s, didn’t stop the Jacksons, nor the other families from delivering gifts.
Heather said the foggy weather was nothing, especially with the day as warm as it was for Christmas Eve in the Sycamore and DeKalb areas.
“There’s been years we’ve done this where it’s sub-zero,” she said.
She described how in those years it was so cold that by the time the family reached the door they’re already freezing.
“There have been times we’ve trekked through snow,” Heather said. “I remember this one time, when we had a minivan. The sliding door froze because it was so cold.”
Despite the unpredictable late-December weather, the family knows connecting with people so they can deliver the gifts is what’s important.
Heather said the family has been successful in the years it’s brought the presents to the families.
On Tuesday, the Jacksons were successful on five of their six deliveries. That’s 83%.
Izzie said she loves it when the people see them come through the door.
“I like seeing people’s reactions,” Izzie said. “They’re usually surprissed and happy. My favorite thing is being at the door with all my siblings.”
Though Tuesday the Jacksons were mostly successful in getting the gifts to where they need to go, it didn’t come easy.
“We managed to be 3-for-3,” Brian said about half-way through the family’s expedition. “It just took a little effort.”
Finley said people are always happy to see them at their doorstep.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a sad reaction,” she said. “Or a meh (reaction.)”
Cece added her favorite part of the annual family excursion.
“It’s seeing people reactions and knowing we made their Christmas just a little bit better,” she said.
Heather said the organization Goodfellows, which put together the event, is wonderful.
“It’s a wonderful thing our community does to come together and spread holiday cheer,” she said.
Source: The Daily Chronicle