Sharing gifts during the holidays

Christmas at Sea

After surviving the heat wave of 2023, we are gearing up for our 5th Christmas in Point Comfort. Please consider helping us. Don't have time shop, pack, wrap and deliver? No problem, we can do that for you when you make a cash donation designated for Christmas.  New this year, our center inside the port will be a drop off location. Because of port security, reservations will be required to visit the center and maybe meet some seafarers.

Your gifts can brighten the life and console a seafarer far away from their family.  While these gifts are not fancy or expensive, they are so important to those who receive them. They remind the seafarers that someone cares about them. The seafarers are amazed that strangers make these gifts for them and really appreciate this show of support. It is common for the ship's captain to hold all of the gifts until Christmas Day. Then, even if the ship is in the middle of the ocean on Christmas, each person receives a gift.

Starting the week after Thanksgiving, our volunteers will deliver gifts to all the ships and many of the towboats that visit our port. On average, a ship will have a crew of 23 and the inland vessels have 4 crew. We estimate we will need at least 700 gifts.

Many groups and individuals pack shoe boxes and wrap them in colorful paper. We ask that you use "normal" size shoe boxes -- please avoid extra large boxes such as boot boxes and very small boxes from children's shoes. Some people use the plastic shoe-sized boxes. All work well and we have had no complaints. In fact, several of the guys have mentioned needing something like a sewing kit or an envelope and they said "hey wait, I think I have one of those in my Christmas box."

We estimate we will need a minimum of 700 gifts to share with the ships in port during the holiday season.

What do you pack in your gift? We recommend a variety of items that they can use and enjoy. We have found that many of the crews are like large families and trade items with each other. No doubt they play a version of the white elephant gift game and pass many items around the room. Our attached list does not cover every possible item that you can shop for but it should get you thinking. Remember, you have a limited container size to fill. Pick and choose items you might like to receive or might need while away on a long trip from home.

Other people, especially quilting ladies, like to make cloth ditty bags with drawstrings. These bags are easy to sew and make an extra gift for the seafarers. Most ditty bags measure roughly 15 inches long by 12 inches wide. They can be made with one drawstring or two. Some groups have even purchased the drawstring backpacks at stores like Dollar Tree and used those. We are not picky. However you wish to pack, your gift will be appreciated by the seafarer who receives it. We do ask that you try to make gifts of approximately equal value.

NOTE:  98% of the seafarers who visit our port are male. While it is a nice idea for groups wanting to tailor gifts for women, it is not needed. When we know a woman is onboard, we specially make a gift to deliver to her. Last year, we had only had 4 female seafarers out of the 720+ visitors in port. PLEASE pack your gifts for men.

Once your gifts are ready, please drop them off at one of our cooperating partners between November 1 and December 15, 2023.  If you need more options or wish to bring your gifts to the center, contact us.

2023 Drop-off locations

Point Comfort Seafarers Center – reservations required to pass through port security -- contact us

Diocese of Victoria Chancery, 1505 E. Mesquite Lane, Victoria

Holy Family Catholic Church, 704 Mallette Drive, Victoria

Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church, 415 W. Austin Street, Port Lavaca

Russell Cain Real Estate, 2025 TX - 35, Port Lavaca

Mike's on Main Cafe, 458 Main Street, Palacios

St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church, 512 Tegner Street, El Campo

Packard Law Center, 523 N. Main Street, Schulenburg