The countdown to Christmas is here. Calendars are full of festive parties, holiday pageants, sales events, cookie exchanges and the list goes on and on.
No matter where you are in your checklist, we hope you get a moment to slow it down and really take in the season. Start a new tradition, tag along with someone else’s or take some time to give back. This year, we organized a small toy drive for the Ronald McDonald House Charity… hoping to add some holiday cheer for families going through a tough time. We’ve been so honored to work with the RMHC, helping families stay connected while their little ones seek medical treatment… and we hope you too will consider them in your prayers and well wishes this season.
Families with a child obtaining medical treatments can not only stay close and stay together with siblings and parents but enjoy the games and toys provided by the generosity of others of this season. It can be difficult enough when one family member bounces between doctor appointments, testing and analysis… let alone how hard it must be on the entire family when routines are completely disrupted when seeking long-term or long-traveled medical attention. Our thoughts are constantly with these families. Playtime, family time, artistic exploration, study habits, etc are all essential to a child’s development… we hope to add some value back into these areas during the time a family stays at the Delaware RMHC facility.
We want to personally thank each of the following brands in their support and contribution for our first toy drive, enabling family learning fun at the Ronald McDonald House in Wilmington, Delaware. Many thanks to Jax LTD for their tremendous generosity, providing a variety board games, dice and card games. With games like “How Tall Am I“, children will be learning measurements without breaking a sweat. Sending some gratitude to Tucker Toys & Goliath Games for providing a cool twist to an ordinary game of catch with the Phlat Ball and E-Z Grip Bounce Ball. A special “shout out” to Roominate for sending several Roominate RV sets, a STEM construction set designed for girls with an operating motor. Along those lines, we’ve donated a GoldieBlox Dunk Tank kit, featuring a story to incorporate the elements of construction. Girls are empowered to design, build and operate machinery with these beautifully engineered kits. Lastly, we want to thank Educational Insights for providing Magic Moves Rainbow Jam, an interactive musical toy teaching colors in a fun and unique way with two modes of play activity. Again, thank you all for your kindness and support in our educational mission. We’re sure the visiting families of RMHC will enjoy all the games and toys.
Charity comes in many forms and with so many deserving programs out there… parents, we encourage you and your family to select something that best fits your lifestyle, something that tugs deep on your heartstrings and look at the many ways your family can make a difference. Monetary donations of course are always useful but there are other ways to give back this holiday season. Here are seven examples to give back this holiday season:
- Have your children make and deliver holiday cards and ornaments for a shut in neighbor or elderly care facility. The same for the children’s hospital wing, although kids may not be allowed to deliver in person.
- Offer to do the shopping or baking or decorating for an older relative. Just taking some of the burden off will help while also providing new family memories.
- Remembering those who are hurting and sensitive during festivities by offering a cheerful (although perhaps not “holiday”) visit. Children can be such a wonderful distraction… if yours are, then consider the gift that their stories can bear to someone who’s depressed, widowed, ill or financially shaken this season. Friendship is the greatest gift… may I suggest baking lasagna instead of Christmas cookies or watching a horror movie instead of Saving Santa.
- The gift of awareness… perhaps create a family video, showcase a bumper sticker or share an article relating to an organization, illness or charity that speaks to you. And in the same vein, the power of encouragement can be felt with such outreach. Below you’ll find my daughter’s video spreading the word about Alex’s Lemonade.
- Stockings for Soldiers, Tree Angels and Toys for Tots… all wonderful ideas with many more out there. What fun to buy something that you KNOW will light up the recipient’s face!!
- Don’t forget our furry friends and wildlife. Consider volunteering to support the many programs established to rescue or advocate for the animals we share the planet with.
- And charity reaches more than just the poor or sick. Support the arts, stand behind the environmental issues, speak out against violence and bullying… basically take action and teach our children the importance of taking such action. Even the smallest step is forward motion, no matter your platform, position, or commitment. Here are a couple additionally resources for improving our world, so I encourage you to check out 47 Things You Can Do for the Environment or visit The EarthWorks Group with plenty of Eco-saving ideas for children. And then there’s How to Make the World a Better Place: 116 Ways You Can Make a Difference for an amazing compilation of ideas that speaks to everything we’ve outlined here and more.
We can talk about education until we’re blue in the face, but without a sense for emotional intelligence, what good is all the science, history and math going to do? This season let’s commit to teaching our children about compassion, thoughtfulness and love.