I think I mentioned before that Darren has a yearly tradition with the girls. Sometime in October, our local Farm-n-Fleet has their annual Christmas toy weekend. For weeks, aisles are shrouded in dropcloths. Then early one Saturday morning (and apparently people line up for this madness), they unveil all the new toys, which are then on sale for the Christmas season.
My family makes countless trips to Farm-n-Fleet, just to look at the sparkly new princess toys, baby dolls, toy kitchens, trucks that really dig, helicopters that really fly, you name it. They constantly revise their lists of what they want. I remember that feeling before Christmas--we used to look through the Sears catalog and dream about what would be under the tree that year.
Add to all that, Elaine's birthday is in mid-December. I refuse to give her presents that double as birthday/Christmas, so December is a banner month for her. Unfortunately, she has a bit of a dry spell for the rest of the year, but what can you do. I just asked her what she wanted for her birthday, and she shrieked joyfully, "PRESENTS!"
In the midst of this, one thing that is paramount to Darren and me in our parenting is to instill a spirit of giving and gratitude in our girls, as well as to give them a vision of the world that is beyond our four walls, our church, our city, and our country. We don't just encourage this at Christmastime--we do it all year--but Christmas provides unparalleled opportunities to give.
So, while they are dreaming of new toys, we will also be participating in this. Whether or not you are familiar with this organization, if you're looking for some way to give this Christmas I encourage you to watch the short video attached to the site. You know how when you give, the best part is to actually see the person receive the gift? Well, you get to now. The girls and I sat and watched the video together (yes, I cried)--especially moving is the little girl who prayed for a doll. I guess little girls are the same all the world over!
It was wonderful to see Lucy and Elaine catch the enthusiasm of wanting to give and serve. They began excitedly talking about what they wanted to pack in their shoeboxes. We decided we wanted to make sure we found dolls with brown skin and dark hair, since so many of the children we saw did too. We're planning to head over to Target to do some shopping this weekend.
One of the greatest things about this opportunity is that it can be done on such a small scale. Even if you are able to fill only one box, you will be making one child's Christmas completely full and joyful. Samaritan's Purse also has a gift catalog with opportunities to give as small as $4.00--blankets, milk, vaccines, stuffed lambs, books...it's so easy, even if you don't have much to spare.
The national week for shoebox drop-off is November 17-24, so there is still time. On the website, it is easy to find a drop-off center near you: we found one within a mile of us.
Probably most of you have people and places you plan to give to this holiday season. But if you don't, or you're looking for a unique and fun way to give with your children to other children--this is a fantastic, reputable organization. You can be assured that your gifts will be received by a child who desperately needs and wants them.
I hope you'll join us!