Ten-year-old Becky has a simple wish for Christmas: to be happier. She has never spent Christmas with her parents. While her letter to Santa looks similar to other children's her age - to see the festive lights, collect more stickers of her favourite Canto-pop stars and spend time with her friends - what makes her different is that she doesn't have the choice of spending the holiday season with her family. Her mother is sick, she explains. 'I want to spend Christmas with my mum, but she might suddenly scold me.' Her dad, meanwhile, is busy with two jobs: he's a construction worker and a bus driver. Becky is one of 400 children under the care of Po Leung Kuk, a charity that looks after the city's underprivileged youngsters. The organisation requested that their charge's last names be kept private. The children, which range from newborns to 18-year-olds, are placed in foster care, small group homes, or a children's home. More than 90 per cent of the children have families, but only half get to go home for the festivities. The others, because of health issues, violence, poverty, or neglect - spend Christmas under the care of Po Leung Kuk. The organisation hosts sponsored celebrations throughout December, taking the children to the movies (last weekend, they went to see Cars), to see the colourful Christmas lights, and to plays, as well as numerous other indoor and outdoor events. Last Friday, about 60 children were treated to a baking session sponsored by Hongkong Electric. In a large assembly hall within the high walls of Po Leung Kuk's headquarters in Causeway Bay, about 20 staff from the power company donned aprons and Santa hats and helped the children decorate cakes. With broad smiles and excited chatter, the chefs young and old added ice cream, fruit and whipped egg whites to their creations. A Christmas tree and tinsel hanging on the walls added colour to the hall. Nicole, a chatty 10-year-old with long black hair and a wide smile, said she loves parties because of the vibrant atmosphere and the games. She has fond memories of last year's festivities, in which the children took part in their own fashion show. 'We did a catwalk for which we designed all the clothes. One of the outfits was made out of magazines,' she said. In a perfect world, charities wouldn't have to arrange parties like this. And Po Leung Kuk hopes their children don't have to experience too many. 'We don't want the kids to have a prolonged stay at the centre,' said Bridget Yu Chan Wa-ping, the organisation's social services secretary. 'We want family reunions.' According to Ms Chan, recent events suggest there may be brighter times ahead for Hong Kong families. The stronger economy means there have been fewer orphans in recent years, and adoption is becoming increasingly accepted, she said. Conditions for single mothers have also improved. 'Now, single mothers are widely accepted in society and they receive more welfare, so more single mothers will take care of their child themselves.'