Monday, December 03, 2012

Toyland, Toyland!

wrapped gift under tree
image from
Something you should know about me, and something that may result in my "girl card" being revoked - I don't like shopping. Never really have. I like the getting new things part, but not the searching and trying and fighting the crowds part. I just find it frustrating and tiring. Online shopping has certainly made a difference, and I honestly rarely step inside a mall anymore. I definitely prefer to do my shopping in my sweats, with the comfort of my own couch and a glass of wine. I still get frustrated with the searching part, but since the stock levels are so much better when you go to the online source instead of the single retail outlet, even that is a huge improvement.

The one exception in my distaste for the shopping experience? Buying toys for the kids in my life. Seriously. I don't even mind the crowds so much when I'm out looking for presents for wee ones. There was a point not so long ago where I was shopping for toys for about 15 nieces, nephews and young cousins, in addition to my own boys. I loved it! I was going broke maybe, but it was ok. I just really enjoy reliving my own childhood while I browse the toy aisles, looking for that perfect doll or ideal selection of baby toys. And the joy on the kids' faces when they open their presents? Especially on Christmas morning, with the lights of the tree and the chaos of wrapping paper and toys all around? Priceless!

Now that the little ones in my life are growing up and hitting the teenage years, there are fewer kids to buy for, and I kinda miss the days of full-on toy shopping. There's still toys for my Little Boo and his besties, plus a couple of small cousins left. But that is all the kids I have to buy for this year.

How will I fill this void? Well, I'll be expanding our tradition of buying toys for charitable toy drives. Each year I've made a point to pick up a gift or two for the Salvation Army's toy drive, and to include the boys in the giving so that they understand the importance of sharing our good fortune. With fewer little kids on my list, those funds can be shifted to purchasing gifts for less fortunate little ones. I won't see their smiles on Christmas morning, but I know they'll be there.

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