Whoa, feels like joy magnetism's starting to get all cause-related, what with sea turtles last week, puppy mills yesterday and the Salvation Army toy drive today.
Is it because saving the world's an addictive feeling? I dunno.
Anyway, see all these Emotes? They're animated characters that were designed to teach children how to express their feelings.
I'm using it for today, because I feel a range of emotions, as we have just about one more week to get our toys in to the Salvation Army for their toy drive program. I mentioned this before, but my time with the Salvation Army's been one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had in New York.
This started out as a selfish thing - I just wanted to wrap gifts. Ya'll know I love doing it, and I can always use the extra practice. But, it's turned out to be so much more - and believe me, it's not like I'm doing all that much - just being the little helper picking up the toys from various corporations around town, and matching up toys to age groups and to our lists of good little boys and girls.
But, it's knowing that in some small way, we're making sure that some little kid will have something to unwrap on Christmas that makes me happy. Doesn't matter who that kid is, or where they come from - somewhere, they'll be opening up something on Christmas.
Some of things I've noticed from donations is that we get a lot of toys for that golden age of childhood, anywhere from 3-10. They're the easiest to buy, right? They have the cutest toys. Like, ever. The kids are old enough to appreciate the fun toys, and young enough to have unjaded imaginations. Hand them Dora or High School Musical dolls, or Legos or remote-controlled car, and they're happy for a few hours.
Not surprisingly, it's the infants and the older children who we usually have trouble finding toys for in the workshop.
I'm talking the seriously 6-24-month baby stuff. I know they're hard to buy for - I just spent time with my BFF's newborn, and I had enough trouble with her floppy head! (What? I love them, but newborns are bundles of heat - cute as hell, but really, they just sit there and ooh and ahhh at the ceilings.) But, they do have a newborn section in the toy stores - the developmental, bright lights, colorful shapes and sizes and yes, those loud, loud sounds that drive parents nuts!
The older kids are a little tricky to buy for - seriously, once they've outgrown the Hannah Montana stuff, it's so much harder to find something that entertains them for more than the time it takes to open the present. We end up sending the basketballs, soccer balls, board games and older books out for them - anything that looks like a teenager would enjoy. But, it's hard!
And, some additional stuff to keep in mind if you're looking to give some Christmas cheer:
When you're sending over dolls, think of all shapes, sizes and colors. I swear, if I see another blonde Barbie, I will cry. (Though in her defense, I will say that we have a section of baby dolls that makes me take the long way around. They seriously creep me out.)
And if you can't stop from buying stuff for the fun kids in the middle? Think of the big brands your own kids will love - Dora. Enough said. Poor Diego, no one cares about him. But Dora's like gold in the toy shop!
Finally. I've never seen so many Candy Lands and Chutes & Ladders in. my. life. Like, I think we could give Toys R Us, 42nd Street a run for their board games.
Gravy. I had no idea how gratifying these couple of weeks would be. And how fun.
Speaking of fun. Man, I bet there are some mad parties up in the toy workshop after all the humans have gone home!