Sunday, December 09, 2012

The gift of giving

There is a post making the rounds on Facebook that shows three Santa bags lined up in front of a hearth and says:
"Great Tradition: Kids must choose old toys to put in their Santa bags. These must be toys in decent shape that other kids would actually want. Leave the bags under our tree on Christmas Eve. Santa takes the old toys back to the North Pole to fix them up. He leaves new toys in the bag. Great way to declutter, recycle old toys, and teach the kids about giving."
While I like this idea, I think it would be better if it was a "kids can", not "kids must" plan. I'm not sure I approve of telling kids Santa will only bring them presents if they give him stuff in return. What does that teach them about giving gifts? To always expect something in return?

I think it would be better to leave it up to the kids on if they want to help Santa give toys to other boys and girls for the holidays. Let them know that Santa sometimes needs a little help, and maybe they can help him give toys to less fortunate boys and girls?

Put a box or bag near the tree when you put it up for the holidays and let the kids decide if they want to give some of their old toys to Santa (or use their allowance to buy new toys even?).

I'd suggest that the toys should stay under the tree for a few days, give the kids some time to ponder their decision to let another kid have their toys, then, a week or so before Christmas, take the toys to be donated to a local group that can refurbish them and get them to needy kids in time for Christmas. I recommend looking for a local toy distributor rather than dropping them at the second hand store, just to assure the toys are actually given to needy kids and not sold. If you must give to a second hand store; try to support a local small business second hand shop, not one of the big name places.

New toys, if the kids decided to buy a toy or two for Santa, can be donated at a Toys for Tots location near you.