Most parents do a major toy clean-out with their kids around the holidays — how else are you supposed to find room to store the influx of new toys coming from loved ones and Santa Claus? It’s also an opportunity to teach your kids about gratitude for the things they have, and the importance of sharing their good fortune with others. One mom’s idea for donating toys at Christmastime is going viral for just that reason. Not only is it a sweet, festive way to get your kids on board with donating, but it teaches them about giving to others in need in the process.
In a public Facebook page called “Female Problems,” Reanne Baldoni posted a photo of her living room — the Christmas tree is all aglow, the stockings are hung with care, and a Christmas movie is ready to play on the TV. The unusual part of the picture is the three big trash bags underneath the tree. Baldoni explains that each year, they give their children a trash bags to fill with toys and stuffed animals they no longer play with. They place them under the tree so that when Santa comes, he can drop off their new toys and take the old ones with him.
Once Santa gets back to the North Pole with the bags of old toys, this parent explains, he’ll work on fixing them all up and give them to children in need next year. Once the kids are in bed, you could stuff them in the trunk and deliver them to a donation center in your city the next time you’re out and about.
The post was shared on Nov. 12 and has amassed thousands of comments and shares since (not to mention even more likes and shares when reposted elsewhere). Commenters gush about about what a lovely and meaningful idea this is, with countless people tagging their partners, friends, and loved ones to recommend they try it. “Omg we are doing this for sure,” writes one user. Another says her daughter’s toys are not gently used enough to donate, which is relatable. It’s a refreshing comment section, frankly — there’s nary a negative or Grinch-y comment to be found.
If you want to teach your kids about the importance of giving back to their community, you should model that behavior and have lots of conversations with them about it. So, when you hand your kids their trash bags, head into their rooms with them and talk about what it means to other children to receive toys, and that by sharing the things they no longer use, they’re bringing joy to someone else. Then pop those bags under the tree, split some Christmas cookies, and leave the rest out for Santa. Hopefully, he has a heavy load of donated toys to carry back to the North Pole with him.
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