‘Tis the season for gift-giving, being merry and overindulging in baked Brie and other soft cheeses. It also should be the season for giving back. Yes, we’re firm believers in donating to a cause in some way this season, whether it be with time, money or materials.
This year, we decided to have a little fun with giving back. We usually do a gift exchange, but we thought we’d do more good by donating gifts to a toy drive than taking them home. So, we decided to do a Secret Santa toy drive and gift each an item that person would have loved as a child.
We love this idea for a couple different reasons:
1) you end up putting more thought into the gift you’re donating, rather than just selecting any kids toy, because there’s lots of different kids out there that all have different hobbies and interests
2) you still get to open a gift that feels personal, and it feels really good to give it away, knowing there’s a kid out there just like you who is going to lose their shit on Christmas morning when they open it
3) its a perfect activity for your work peeps or large group of friends, and hopefully those people will in turn do the same with their friends or work, resulting in a gifting domino effect!
We all felt pretty good about the gifts we bought, all of which were very well received. Just look at the joy on our faces. I gifted Alyssa a dog themed puzzle, because she was obsessed with dogs as a kid and loved a good puzzle. Combined, it’s basically the essence of her childhood. Alyssa bought Vanessa a fancy toy gun, similar to the Nerf variety, because she was a tomboy and we had a lot of Nerf gun fights growing up. Vanessa bought me a DIY jewellery set, with friendship bracelet making, crystal growing and slime moulding. Because I’ve always loved a good DIY (turns out you never grow out of it).
It’s easy to host your own Secret Santa toy drive, so please do.
You don’t need much for this one, just:
- Giving spirit
- Write down each person’s name on a piece of paper. If it’s hard to get everyone together, you can also set up a Secret Santa online via Elfster. Technology is great.
- Draw names to randomly assign a Secret Santa to each person.
- Plan an exchange party. Before Christmas, obvi. Also, don’t forget to double check whether your local toy drive has a donation deadline, because most are a couple of weeks before Christmas.
- Go shopping. You’ll be Secret Santa-ing for the child version of the person you drew. What did they play with when they were kids? Were they Barbie types, or did they lose their shit for Play-doh? Gift accordingly.
- When the party time comes, wrap your gift and write the recipient’s name on it. Exchange.
- If you feel like it, guess who drew your name, but it’s not mandatory in our books.
- Donate the gifts
We wanted to make the nice list this year, so we opted for a fun mocktail instead of our usual cocktail. We call this one the (safely fastened) sleigh ride. It’s made with Sleigh Ride tea from David’s Tea, orange peel simple syrup, ginger ale and cranberry bitters. It’s great for making in a big batch for a large group. Grab the recipe here.
Holiday tunes that sound good, and make ya feel good.