Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dec 19: Giving day (Toys for Tots)

The past few years we've been able to take part in the Karen Christmas Family program, where we've 'adopted' a newly immigrated family and help to set them up for cold Minnesota living.  This year, we are not able to participate.  In the spirit of the Christmas holiday, though, we did choose to participate in Toys for Tots.
While it isn't the same experience as meeting the children who will be benefitting from the gifts we give, it was still an important scaled-down exercise in giving for Alex and Justin.
The parameters were this:  They each had a budget of $10 (half of which came from their own piggybanks).  They had to pick out a toy that was either a) on their own Christmas lists or b) something they would really enjoy receiving.  They knew that they would not be bringing anything home from this trip, because the collection spot was in-store.

Both kids had loose ideas of what they were looking for when we ventured into the huge chaos of Toys R Us.  Justin was excited about the idea from the start.  He had grand plans to buy "my little boy" a combine and tractor.  We found a few items that fit his budget (a train, some hot wheels), but he settled on a stuffed dinosaur because "they boy can snuggle with it".  What a sweet guy!
Alex had a little harder time.  She first out refused to get something from her own list.  But then, as she got into the spirit of shopping for someone else, she had so many options it was hard to choose.  She ended up picking a lalaloopsy doll  (something she's coveted and asked Santa for-- something that Santa may not end up bringing her because it doesn't quite fit in our non-plastic toy rule.....but he's starting to maybe come around just because she was so selfless'll have to stay tuned). 
As we checked out and deposited our toys in the bin, she seemed a little sad to be leaving such a special toy.  I reminded her how happy her little girl would be, and how proud I was of her for being such a giving person and thinking of other people.  By the time we got to the car, she was talking about how she wished she could have gotten even more toys for kids.  Then we hit McDonalds for a mango smoothie :-)

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