I partnered with Stonyfield for the following post about giving back this holiday season.
The holiday season is a time to celebrate. It’s a time to reflect on the past year, thank our Father above for life’s blessings, and share with those who are less fortunate. When I was little, my mom taught me the importance of paying it forward to other children who didn’t have gifts under their tree like I did.
I was raised in a Christian and Jewish home, so I celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah as a child. Rather than bask in 9 days/nights of gifts (8 if Christmas and Hanukkah happened to fall on the same night), I gave up 4 nights of gifts and my mom and I went shopping at the Big Wheel (anyone remember that store?) to pick up gifts for other kids.
This holiday season, we passed along the family tradition to my kids.
The Big Wheel may no longer exist, but it was replaced with a similar store in our area called Marc’s. The four of us headed there on a Sunday afternoon to spend over $100 on gifts to donate to Toys for Tots.
As a Stonyfield Yo-Getters Ambassador, Stonyfield generously gave me a $50 Visa Gift Card to pay it forward this holiday season. That $50 bought 10 toys for kids – dolls, cars, blocks, and more. My mom, in the spirit of the season, chipped in another $50 to pick up even more toys.
My kids didn’t fully understand who we were shopping for at the beginning of the shopping trip. They argued with each other initially – “I want that.” “No, I do!” Pulls. Screams. Mom!
I explained to them that in fact neither one of them would be getting these toys, but we would be gifting them to other kids that wouldn’t have presents under their tree otherwise. Then a light bulb went off in my 4-year-old daughter’s head. “Mom – let’s get them this dolly. How about these cars? Do you think a kid would like this?”
After we arrived back at Grandma’s post-shopping (and after dropping the toys in a local Toys for Tots collection bin), Bear immediately, before even exiting her car seat, exclaimed to my husband, “Dad! We bought kids presents and now they can have Christmas too!”
It was at that moment that I felt the true meaning of the season. I had gifted my daughter something that isn’t found under the tree – compassion, kindness, and love.