Sometime in the fall of 2008, my husband (Steve) witnessed something that touched his heart and we've changed how we buy presents for each other since..
Steve was in our local Walgreens. It's when the economy started going south, we were both worried about our jobs, aware of those around us who were starting to be impacted, etc..
A little boy and his father were walking down the aisle together. The little boy was carrying a hot wheels car that his dad was about to purchase for him. He was so excited that we wasn't paying attention to where he was walking. Steve was touched by the fact something as simple as a hot wheels car could make a child soo happy.
Steve came home and declared, 'I'd like us to take the money that we'd use to buy gifts for each other and buy toys for Toys for Tots instead.' How could I saw no after the story he told me and admitting we don't really 'need' anything. I thought it was a great idea...
The day after Thanksgiving that year, I headed out at 5am to get toys at 50% off (and another 10% off for opening a store credit card), which meant twice as many kids would get toys. It was worth the bleary eyes and lack of sleep. I did get many odd looks when I was pushing around a large amount of toys in a shopping cart. When people ask, I would just tell them what they are for. You could see the judgment change to surprise in people's eyes.
This year, we decided to do the same thing and probably will for many years to come. It was Steve's turn to brave the crowds the day after Thanksgiving, what a different experience for him. We think it's going to be a great lesson for our girls to learn. We want to teach them to be thankful for what they have and to give to those who are less fortunate.
I just wish I could see the look on the children's faces who are going to get toys this year, when they otherwise might not have. Just thinking about it brings happy tears to my eyes.
Happy Holidays to everyone....