A fluffy pavlova covered in summer fruit or a perfectly-glazed ham are staples of the spread that fill the table on a classic Kiwi Christmas Day.

However, for those in need, treats as little as a sponge cake or some gravy mix can turn a dull day into a Christmas their family will never forget.
Xmas
Every year, the Rotorua Salvation Army pack and deliver more than 120 special Christmas parcels for families in need.

The packs are filled with necessities to keep tummies full around Christmas, but also a bunch of tasty treats for the special day.

These include pasta and cereal, as well as Christmas crackers and sponge cake.

The Rotorua Daily Post's Christmas Appeal aims to rally the community to help fill these parcels so everyone in the community has the means for a great Christmas Day.

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Rotorua Salvation Army Community Ministries team leader Tania Hore has experienced first-hand the difference a Christmas parcel can make to someone in need.

Hore said for many, being able to provide a meal for their family meant a lot to their self-esteem.

She remembered being approached one year by an elderly woman, who had fallen into hard times through circumstances out of her control.

She popped down to the Salvation Army and discreetly spoke to Hore to see if there was any chance she could possibly have a Christmas hamper.

As a proud mother, the woman had always been a strong provider for her children and wanted to be able to share a special meal with them.

After her long-term rental property was sold and she was forced to become a full-time carer for a sick family member, she became homeless and started to struggle with money.

As she aged, getting out of the rut became harder and harder.

She wanted a hamper to feel a sense of getting her "mana" back and being able to contribute on the day, Hore said.

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Unfortunate circumstances caused many to fall on hard times through "no fault of their own", she said.

"There are genuine people out there doing their very best ... it is a privilege to help them."

So many were facing a "daily battle" and were purely getting by in "survival mode". She said Christmas should not be like that.

That was the beauty of the Salvation Army Christmas Hamper.

WHAT GOES IN A CHRISTMAS HAMPER?

A standard hamper for an individual or two adults includes:

2x spaghetti
2x baked beans
3x tin fruit
2x tin tomatoes
1x tin veg
2x cereal
Pasta
Rice
Biscuits
Crackers

Chocolate/Lollies
Chips
Soft Drink
Christmas crackers/Decorations

Jelly
Sponge cake
Fruit mince pies/Christmas cake
Cream

Chicken
Gravy
Frozen and fresh veges