Day 11…Toys for Tots…

My mom has this picture of my brother from Christmas morning when he was five or six.  He was coming around the corner into the living room and seeing all the presents under the tree for the first time.  He still believed in Santa then and the look on his face is one of innocent surprise that Santa really came and pure, unadulterated joy.  I love that picture because I think it really captures the magic of Christmas.  My brother was just so happy that morning.  And I don’t have kids yet, but I imagine that seeing my brother’s face light up like that made my parents just as happy.

We were very lucky growing up.  There were some years that were tough for my parents…but no matter what their situation, they did Christmas big and we got to experience that magic over and over again.  I’m not sure how they pulled it off…but they did it every single year.

Unfortunately, there are some parents that just can’t.  The economy is bad…people are out of work…they are losing their houses.  Some parents need to focus all their energy on just putting food on the table and heating the house and paying the rent.  Christmas is just not on the list of priorities.  Some parents are sick or their children are sick and they spend every dime and ounce of energy they have on that situation…and again, Christmas falls down the list.  It’s not anyone’s fault.  Sometimes that’s just the way it is.

But every kid deserves that moment…that one moment where everything is magical and special and happy.  And every parent deserves to see their kid happy on Christmas.  Life is hard…but on Christmas, life should just be good.

And that is where Toys for Tots comes in.  Toys for Tots began in 1947 and I’m sure everyone has seen the collection bins around Christmas time every year.  For anyone who doesn’t know, Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys and then sorts, wraps and distributes them to needy children.  Their objective is to help those children experience the joy and magic of Christmas…and to deliver a message of hope to the families.  In 1947, 5,000 toys were distributed.  In 2011, over 16,000,000 toys were given to over 7,000,000 children.  Yup…7,000,000 children and their families had a brighter happier Christmas thanks to Toys for Tots.

That is amazing.

But it’s not enough.  It won’t be enough until every single child gets to experience the magic.  So Toys for Tots needs your help.  Go out today, buy a toy and drop it off to one of the Toys for Tots collection centers in your area.  That’s it…it’s that simple.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money either…because sometimes an inexpensive doll or truck or stuffed animal is even better than a wii or an iPhone.

If you don’t have time to shop, go to the Toys for Tots website and make a monetary donation.  That money will help in getting toys wrapped and distributed and it will help Toys for Tots shop for the supplementary gifts that they don’t get many of…like things for older kids and teenagers.  After all…teenagers deserve Christmas magic too.

Toys for Tots is a US program…but there is a similar program in Canada called Santas Anonymous that is just as awesome.  Drop by Robyn’s blog and read about what they did for her mom years ago and why she always makes it a point to shop for toys at Christmas.

There is plenty of time for kids to learn about the hard and unfair things in life.  Let’s help to give them a little magic this Christmas season.

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