Giving to Others is the Best Part of the Holidays

As you have no doubt seen, I do a lot of work with Walmart around the holidays every year. There are crafts, product reviews and even some shopping for gifts for my own family. But without a doubt, each year, the assignment I look forward to the most is the chance to buy and donate toys for kids in need. The idea of providing a little something special for a child who otherwise might have little or nothing for Christmas truly warms my heart.

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Through the Walmart Moms program, each of us received $100 to shop for toys. Each year, I struggle with whether to buy bigger gifts, or get smaller items to make the money stretch further. We also like to try finding gifts for older kids, because as a general rule, little kids are easier to shop for, and probably account for the bulk of donations. In the end, we tried to accommodate a bit of all these things. We bought:

The Nerf bow has been crazy popular this year, and in fact, my own daughter has it on her wish list. So I thought it would make a great gift.

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Also, when I buy dolls, I try to buy African American ones, because I think little girls of all colors need to see a reflection of their own beauty in their playthings, and in this area, diverse though it may be, black dolls aren’t always easy to come by. I couldn’t resist the round, brown face on this one, and her wild, curly hair reminded me of my daughter 🙂

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Finally, to boost our donation, we added some toys we’d collected throughout the year, including a Jake & the Neverland Pirates ship, a Minnie Mouse figurine, a ball and paddle, a couple of jump ropes, and a set of small toy cars. That made for an awesome stack of gifts that would hopefully help a ton of kids.

This year, Walmart is really trying to help a lot of kids with a huge giving project: the Fill the Truck campaign.

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In partnership with The Salvation Army, Walmart is working to get gifts to children in need locally. Essentially, stores provide a huge cardboard truck where customers can donate toys, coats, video games and more. The Salvation Army will handle fulfillment of those gifts to local kids. I love this push for giving back, and it is a value we work hard to instill in our kids.

While our store did not have  Fill the Truck box, it did have a Toys for Tots box. However, it was present only for a limited time, and when we went back to the store to deliver our toys, the donation boxes were already gone. We did find another dropoff location, at a retirement community a couple of miles from our home. They had a big tree set up in a great room for donations, and we added ours to the growing pile.

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I imagine that this year, given how rough the economy has been, there may be more children than ever who are receiving help through Toys for Tots, Fill the Truck and programs like them. This is why it always feels amazing to do this, knowing that in a few weeks, these gifts will be making some kids’ Christmases just a little bit brighter.

How do you plan to give back for the holidays? How do you teach your kids the importance of giving back?

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

By jennae

Hi! I'm Jennae Petersen and I'm the eco diva who had the bright idea to share my journey toward green living with the blogosphere. Some of you may know me as the founder of Green Your Decor, my blog about eco-friendly home decor, as a Walmart Mom, from Twitter or from my organic cotton t-shirt line Differently Clothing. Stick around for a while!

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