Azul Quintana gives gifts

Azul Quintana (center) hands out a gift Monday at the Plaza de Española. Azul started giving gifts in the plaza four years ago. She saves money all year to go buy as many gifts as she can to give out at Christmas.

   Azul Quintana, 10, stood in the gazebo in the Plaza de Española Monday afternoon. With her were wrapped boxes that recently contained gifts.

    “We’re just giving presents to kids, and that’s it,” Quintana said. “I wanna make it a tradition.”

    Azul said she started giving presents when she was six, but she didn’t really have a reason for wanting too.

    “I don’t know, I just like giving presents,” Azul said.

    The routine was a little different this year according to Azul.

    “Now we need to wear masks,” Azul said. “We were just looking for stores that didn’t have big lines.”

    The gifts were bought by Azul and her mother, Magdalena Sanchez who said they’ve been saving all year.

    “She was six and she just told me she wants to give presents to kids, she was a preemie and she has a big heart,” Sanchez said. “She saves money every year and she goes and buys presents for kids and I’m so proud of her.”

    Sanchez said they had 68 gifts this year, 34 for boys and 34 for girls. In previous years they’ve had more money for gifts, Sanchez said they had 120 last year.

    “It was hard because I didn’t work that much, I’m sad, but we did good, makes me smile,” Sanchez said.

    Azul’s older sister, Alejandra Hernandez, was also there to help distribute gifts.

    “I think it’s just Azul, she’s like an emotional caring person,” Hernandez said. “I don’t know how it started, but instead of getting a gift for herself, she’s, ‘Why not give gifts to kids that don’t get gifts so often?’ and that’s where it came from. It makes me feel really good and proud of her. At that age I didn’t think about this, I thought about getting a gift for myself you know, my mom must be doing something right.”

    Hernandez said they were worried that children wouldn’t show up because of the pandemic, but by 3:30 nearly all the gifts they had brought were given out.

    Azul said she wasn’t bothered by the hurdles to the gift drive caused by the pandemic.

    “I hope kids like their gifts,” Azul said.

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