At the beginning of December, we asked you which Guinar deserves to be in the spotlight this year. Among the many warm recommendations, we chose Marcel van Vas (63) as our Gouda Christmas 2022 angel. Together with his wife Tineke (61), he has been a committed Gouda minimalist for years. We have stopped the preparations for the big kids birthday party to surprise the couple with a beautiful gift package.
“Wow! We were really surprised to be announced that we are Jodha’s Angel at Christmas.” Marcel and Teneke did not know about our call and are very moved to receive the gift package. As far as we are concerned, Marcel deserves his nickname because of the hundreds of bikes he repairs and gives away each year. In addition, the couple has been organizing a big Christmas party for children from less fortunate families for years and has been performing as Secret Santa. This is just a sampling of the couple’s activities. Because sitting still is not an option when many people use an assist.
Everyone has a beautiful birthday memory
“It’s also our upbringing,” says Marcel, “I come from a big, warm family. We did everything for each other and did a lot together. We may not have had much, but the Christmas parties and cinquelas were always perfect.” Marcel shines when he talks about the long evenings of Sinterklaas from his youth. “Many of the presents were made at home, and my parents had been working on it for months. I remember some nice knitted mittens that I got when I was about seven or eight. I was allowed to wear them when I went to get the Christmas tree with my parents shortly thereafter.” That atmosphere, you know, stays with you.” Marcel gives each child such a warm Sinterklaas or birthday party. “I want to give children very beautiful memories of Christmas, which will later make them beautiful people. I really believe in that.”
Children’s Christmas in the street
It takes time to make fond memories, so Marcel and Teneke start their preparations in June. “Then we think about how we want to deal with it and what we need it for,” says Marcel. An announcement of the gig will follow in October in the I’m Giving Gouda Facebook group. “We can receive a maximum of 100 children and their parents, so registration is essential.” The party is for children up to 12 years old from poor families in Gouda. “Together we ensure that they too can have a wonderful Christmas.”
Savings and sponsors
And it would be a great party if it was up to him. “There are so many people who come to help, that’s really cool,” Marcel laughs, after which he assures us that he doesn’t take money from anyone. Baby gifts are new and come from sponsors or we buy them ourselves. We save up for that all year round.” And that’s while the couple themselves aren’t very broad. Since Marcel was declared permanently incapacitated after my brain hemorrhage and heart attack, the couple had to live on benefits. “We’ll make it happen,” Tineke says. Although prices should not go up any more.”
So there is no shortage of helpers: friends help with packing, fresh pea soup and cake are delivered at cost, and face painters and a photographer contribute selflessly. “We even have a sponsor supplying helium balloons and biodegradable balloons for a balloon contest I’ve been wanting for a while,” says Marcel. “The neighbors will set tables with gifts and toys in the front lawn,” he continues excitedly with his plans. “Our 87-year-old neighbor has been looking forward to it for months. We put toys and gifts for the parents with him. Here he is by his stove. You can see him enjoying it so much, great.”
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All is well
Marcel and Tiniki are looking forward to “their” Christmas party. However, Tineke will be happy when it’s over. “Marcel can then get back to work with his bikes and I finally have my craft room back. It’s now completely filled with gifts!” she laughs. Marcel admits: “We’d probably have a lot, but we’d also give away what’s left. Thanks to Tineke’s work at De Walvis, we’ve reached out to a group of Ukrainian refugees. They also have children who can use the sweet memories of Christmas.”