Our daughter has everything she needs. She is surrounded by a plethora of toys, she has books GALORE, she has clothes in her closet for all seasons, she has food to eat, warm blankets, and lots and lots of family that love her. My husband and I knew from the start that we didn't want to have too much stuff. We wanted her to appreciate the things she has, and to learn to live without every want met. In addition to this, we want her to learn to be a giver. We want her to learn to share with those around her, and to expect nothing in return but kindness.
To avoid getting too much stuff, we started a Christmas gift guide last year. It was basically a sign up sheet for our family members, so not everyone would end up buying her toys. It encouraged books, and even events to make memories. The reality, however, is that with family far away, sometimes they give gifts simply because it gives them joy- which is something we want them to continue if it makes them happy. That being said, Caroline has a LOT of toys. And the reality is she hardly plays with her toys. So, in our effort to teach giving and kindness, and to not accumulate too much, we donate!
Our daughter has amazed us with a couple of things:
1. Even with all of her toys, she much prefers to explore outside, or read a book!
2. When asked to give even a favorite toy away, she does so and is so strong about it.
Her grandparents once gifted her a new Love2Learn Elmo. She had a Tickle Me Elmo already, so I decided to ask Caroline if she would give the Elmo she already had to another child that might want it. I knew it was a lot to ask, and I wasn't going to make her- Elmo is her favorite, and I didn't want to break her heart. She's young and I knew she might not understand. Not only did Caroline agree, she helped me set it out for pick up the day that it was going "bye-bye". She said goodbye and was SUCH a good sport about it.
A few times a year, we plan on doing clean outs. Some things we sell for an inexpensive price to other families locally. Many things we pay it forward and give for free. We always involve Caroline in the process and have her help as much as she can. She just turned 2 years old and her speech has taken off, so she can now voice her opinion if she feels we've overstepped LOL! The great thing, however, is she is really understanding. She readily accepts that we give things away to make room for new items, or sometimes just give things away because they aren't being used, or could find a new home. We are so incredibly proud of her and plan to continue this tradition. Of course, some things we just hide away for her brother or sister to use one day as well.
I am so excited, that this year...not only did we do a huge clean out of toys to sell and toys to give away, we are also getting the opportunity to make a few donations!
1. We always contribute when our grocery store has pre-packaged bags of food to purchase and donate. I am so glad to see stores making donations like this so simple and easy to participate in.
2. Every Christmas we like to donate to Toys for Tots or find an Angel tree. We've gone as big as a new bike (before we had a a child and a budget) LOL! This year we were gifted a new train set, and we had actually just purchased one. We have decided that this will be our Toys for Tots donation.
3. I am a blogger with the Stonyfield YoGetter blogging community. They generously gave their bloggers $50 to contribute towards a good deed/charitable cause! I am amazed by their generosity and thoughtfulness to give back to our communities. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to proceed with this money. I had a few goals in mind:
- Involve our daughter in the process
- Involve my readers (you!) and inspire them to participate
- Put smiles on children's faces year round- not just during the holidays
I am thrilled to announce that I will be using this generous allowance from Stonyfield, to collect items for a pediatric center nearby! The hospital has put together a wishlist of items that they would like donated. These items will stay at the hospital and benefit all of the children that walk through its doors- year round, and for many years to come! This will truly be a gift that keeps giving.
"In the Pediatric Center at Holy Cross Hospital we recognize the importance of play for hospitalized children and their families. Children are encouraged to participate in play throughout hospitalization to support continuing development and provide a sense of normalcy in an unfamiliar environment. Play assists children in adapting to the stressors of hospitalization by promoting exploration and self-expression. Donating an item listed below would contribute to improving the hospitalization experience of an ill child."
Here's how we are getting involved:
- Instead of simply purchasing items online, and packaging them up for delivery, I will be taking Caroline to the store with me and making the purchases with her so she can be as involved as possible.
- She will be with me when we drop off the donation at the hospital; and, while we can't personally deliver the items to patients, she'll see where they are going and get to be a part of the process.
- My family will be matching the $50 donation- making it a total of $100 to start!
- You (all of my wonderful readers) can send donations to me using the donate button below. 100% of the donations will be used to purchase items on the hospital's wishlist. I'll be accepting donations through December 12th. The week of the 12th, I'll be going shopping for donations and getting things delivered shortly after!
Other Posts of Interest:
Saying Thank You
Sponsored Stonyfield Blog Posts
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