Mentally handicapped children aged between six and 20 in Macau attend a Caritas-run school located in the southern island of Coloane. Students and teachers celebrated Christmas recently at an annual party held at the Westin Resort. Each student has a slightly different handicap. One absolutely adorable six-year-old smiled a lot but could not speak. A sleepy girl took an hour to finish eating the appetiser, because she cannot swallow quickly. Another boy had to eat even if he didn't want to, because if he doesn't, he could have a spasm, the teachers explained. And yet they opened Christmas presents with the same candour and joy as any other child. As they nibbled on their main course, they stared at colourfully-wrapped candies on the table. Parties celebrating Christmas or the handover anniversary have filled the schedules of Macau residents for two weeks. Yet, this was one party I would not forget. All our problems seemed so insignificant compared to those of the parents, teachers and, of course, the children themselves, who have to face their handicap every minute of their lives. Years ago, some of the teachers came from the mainland to Macau through unofficial means, a Caritas director explained. After proving their interest in pursuing the profession, Caritas applied for the necessary employment documents with the Macau authorities. Unfortunately, some of these mainlanders left the school as soon as they obtained the legal documents, the Caritas official said. I attended this Christmas party, mingled with dozens of needy children and thought I was noble to sacrifice a few hours of my time. The teachers, on the other hand, dedicate a good portion of their lives to bringing up these children. More than a decade ago, Caritas Macau identified a remote, mountainous village in Anhui province , where intermarriage within a small population of villagers has given rise to a disproportionate number of handicapped children. The charity channelled some of its funds to build schools in the community. After Christmas, several Caritas officials will visit these schools to evaluate how they are spending the money, and how much additional funds these schools need. It surely is one of the more unique ways of celebrating the season of generous giving.