Are you ready for Christmas…is your shopping done? Presents wrapped? Tree tinseled? Cookies baked? Cards mailed?
Me neither….but tonight I did something that was festive, fun and softened up the “Grinchiness” I’ve been carrying around for the last few weeks. Hope Santa was watching.
Several weeks ago, my boss managing partner of our firm asked me to buy a few hundred dollars worth of toys to donate to the Toys For Tots Program. I grudgingly said yes because I’m not crazy about being unemployed again but I was also annoyed and put out that he asked this of me, knowing I had to do this after work on my time.
I only remember TFT’s when the marines collected used toys, fixed them up and re-gifted them to under-privileged kids and I don’t have good memories of that. I was a new mother and had just moved to town when a neighbor asked if I would help her collect and clean up toys to donate to TFT’s. We put boxes at the post office and library and scheduled a day to clean up and repair the toys together in my basement. I got a persistent case of impetigo from that experience which took several months of antibiotics to clear up. Maybe that’s why TFT’s no longer accepts used toys.
The other day, when I called TFT to ask about drop off times and locations, they told me they really needed toys for older kids—10 to 13 year-olds—“tweens”. I put this chore off as long as I could but last night, after another email from my boss, I decided to get it over with. I had no idea what to buy. Haven’t had any tweens or teens in this house for many years.
So at first I was watching other people shopping more than I was paying attention to the merchandise on the shelves but after a short time, I also realized I was having a good time---isn’t it hard not to have fun in a toy store? There are so many animated and electronic toys—the last popular toys I shopped for were Teddy Ruxpin and Cabbage Patch kids.
I made several aimless trips around the store with my carriage before ending up where they stock the musical toys and it was here that I found my inspiration.
I think I made good choices. The first toy I tossed into my carriage was a karaoke machine--for a budding Lady Gaga maybe? Followed by an electric guitar—couldn’t we use another Jimmy Hendrix’s talent?. Then I spotted a display case of cameras and with the advice of a salesperson, chose a compact video camera—maybe it will inspire another Steven Speilberg or James Cameron. Next to the check out there was a display of MP3 players on sale so I picked up a couple of those too and a few popular dvds for good measure.
I would love to think that maybe these toys would be the catalyst to inspire some child’s future choices but even if they’re only play things and give some temporary enjoyment and take the slump out of a parent’s shoulders who’s worrying about not having gifts for their kids, I’m satisfied. I doubt my boss, knew what he was missing when he delegated this job to me but maybe someone else “up there” knew I needed to do this.