"On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...."

This beloved traditional holiday song is the inspiration for our seasonal blog series, "12 Days/12 Ways", a promotional effort of goodwill we started last year to draw attention to 12 not-for-profit groups or charitable organizations in Playa del Carmen and along the Riviera Maya. So many people from around the world travel to the Riviera Maya during the holiday season. Many reach out to us via regional message boards and Facebook looking for a way to give back to the less fortunate residents in our local communities. 12 Days/12 Ways was started to help these generous, kind-hearted visitors find legitimate and worthy charitable organizations to support, addressing their particular needs for this holiday season.

For each of the 12 days of Christmas, the BuyPlaya Blog, better known as "Life's a Beach", will spotlight a charitable organization or giving opportunity. Some may already be familiar to locals and frequent travelers to this area. Others, perhaps those most in need of recognition and support, may be new to our readers. It is our hope to do this every year, with updated information and wish lists.

The "12 Day/12 Ways" list has not yet been completed for 2011. If you have a favorite charity that you feel belongs on this list, collect all of the information you can and I will be happy to consider your group for inclusion.



Pack for a PurposeThis year The Fairmont Mayakoba has joined forces with Pack for a Purpose® to launch their new program "Holiday Wishes". This project is in preparation for Día de Reyes (Three Kings Day), a beloved tradition celebrated on January 6th by children all across Mexico. During December guests of the Fairmont Mayakoba are invited to Pack for a Purpose® and bring toys and games or school and medical supplies to help the neediest children of the Riviera Maya to have a happy holiday! The toys and gifts will be presented on January 6, 2012, during a party in honor of the Three Kings celebration.

Three Kings DayEach holiday season, children write letters to the Magi requesting a special toy or gift and, on the evening of January 5th, they leave their shoes under the Christmas tree or outside their bedroom door. The next morning, every boy or girl in Mexico wakes to find their holiday gift and joy in their hearts. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many disadvantaged children across the Riviera Maya.

The Fairmont Mayakoba, in cooperation with the outstanding non-profit U'yo'olche A.C. , will be fulfilling hundreds of "Holiday Wishes" by collecting and distributing presents to underprivileged children from the Riviera Maya's poorest villages. The hotel's employees, who are also making donations, will collect and sort the gifts which will then be distributed by U'yo'olche to the children of our Mayan communities. U'yo'olche A.C. works to serve over 800 local children and their families. The organization and its tireless volunteers help residents at risk to preserve their natural resources, to become sustainable, to improve their well-being and economic situation and to strengthen their culture and traditions.


What can YOU bring?

Toys/Games/Books - (ages 3-12 years)

  • Stuffed animals
  • Soft toys
  • Soccer balls*
  • Netballs/basketballs*
  • Inflation pumps
  • Jump ropes
  • Frisbees
  • Puzzles
  • Board games
  • Crayon sets
  • Coloring books
  • Picture books
  • Dolls
  • Small cars and trucks
  • Small tossing balls

(Please, no battery operated toys)

Children's clothing: (ages 1-12 years)

  • Shirts
  • Slacks
  • Shorts
  • Tee shirts
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Long-sleeves T-shirts
  • Socks
  • Kids shoes/flip-flops
  • Light sweaters/jackets

School Supplies:

The following new items should be taken out of their original packaging and placed in the lightest possible plastic or fabric resealable bags:

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Individual pencil sharpeners
  • Solar calculators
  • Protractors
  • Colored pencils

The following items should be kept in their original packaging to prevent breakage:

  • Crayons
  • Chalk
  • Plastic/wooden rulers


Medical Supplies:

Any medicines that you bring should have an expiration date at least 8 months after the time you are bringing them.

Expensive items such as stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs etc. should be put in plastic or fabric resealable bags and packed in your carry-on luggage.

Band-Aids, bandages and any other items where the weight would be reduced by eliminating the original packaging should be taken out of their original packaging and placed in the lightest possible plastic or fabric resealable bags

Fairmont Mayakoba

*Tips for Packing:

Check with your airline and travel agent to determine the current luggage allowance to your destination.

For your convenience, pack all items so they can be easily located within your luggage and dropped off when you arrive at your destination.

Print up the official Pack for a Purpose® Donation Card and include it in your luggage.

Games such as Scrabble®, Connect Four®, Dominoes® and Jenga® should be left in their original packages.

Soccer balls and other inflatable balls should be deflated by moistening an inflation needle and carefully inserting it into the valve. After the needle is inserted, gently apply pressure to the ball until the ball is deflated. Remove the needle and tape it to the deflated ball. The deflated balls can be stacked to save space or soft items such as socks can be positioned in the cavities. Each deflated soccer ball will weigh about 1 lb. (.45 kg).