Like many families out there, our family has many people that love to get our kids presents, not only for their birthday and Christmas, but other holidays, and other random times too.
I get it, I do, because I do it too. It is so fun to see them get excited, and it is hard to hold back.
But it results in this influx of toys, and without sending toys out again, we are reaching capacity for toys. So, I went on a hunt yesterday to figure out the best place to get new homes for the toys that we have convinced the kids to let leave the house.
Goodwill is certainly the most convenient option, but for those who might not know, the toys are put into the stores, and sold, and then the money is used for good causes. There is no guarantee that these toys will go to kids truly in need instead of families just trying to save money (no blame, I shop at thrift stores myself, just saying).
What I discovered though is that the most worthy of causes (in my opinion), like hospitals, foster homes, homeless shelters, Ronald McDonald House, Make a Wish Foundation, and others don't want our old toys, no matter how good of shape they are in.
Mostly for health reasons, none of these locations can or will accept used toys, what they need are new toys (and clothes, and many other things).
This got me thinking about a solution to my two main problems. One, too many toys at our house when they don't need them. Two, great causes need new toys, but good luck trying to get your kids to ditch toys they haven't played with yet.
Here is my proposed solution, that I would love to get momentum and become a campaign instead of just something for our family: Give One, Get One.
The Give One, Get One idea is simple: spend half as much on gifts for my kids, but instead buy two of the toys you do give. Wrap both presents, and put a note somewhere inside: Give One, Get One. Gift card givers can get two smaller amount gift cards, with "Give One, Get One," and one goes to others, and when my kids spend money on themselves, they can also spend money on toys explicitly for others.
Hopefully this will result in a birthday party with half as many toys to find space for in our house, and a car full of brand new donations to one of the many places that has kids that REALLY need those new toys.
Every spoiled time will become a time about teaching to give. My kids, seeing all those toys go to a hospital or shelter, learn about giving, and can know that another boy or girl will get to play with the same toys they are playing with. But since the "Give" and "Get" toys are identical, it won't hurt them at all to see them go, since they have one to play with themselves.
To family members that read this blog, please consider doing the Give One, Get One plan when you shop for my kids for all these occasions coming up.
When their birthdays come up again or when people ask me what to get them for Christmas, I will be including this blurb:
Our family would love it if you would consider participating in our Give One, Get One plan. Whatever budget you were planning on spending, please consider spending half of it on our kids, and instead buy a duplicate of the item or items you do purchase. Include the words: Give One, Get One somewhere on your card, and wrap both toys (or clothes, books etc.), and then we will donate the duplicate item or items to a local hospital, shelter, Ronald McDonald House, or Make-a-wish Foundation since they only accept new items. "Give One, Get One" works with gift cards as well, just do two gift cards instead of one, one to spend on themselves, one to spend on others. We appreciate your help in teaching our kids about generosity and giving to kids in need.