In most homes, getting ready for Santa means hanging stockings with care, leaving a plate of cookies and milk, and making sure you’re not on the naughty list. In my home, there is a special addition to the Santa-prep ritual: donating. My children have known since they were wee ones that the jolly old elf cannot deliver new presents unless we donate some things to children in need.
Hence, this past week I asked my daughter if she’d like me to help her sort through her toys for donations. We went through her dress-up clothes, books, and stuffed animals. While she was very willing to donate outgrown books and dress-up clothes (she actually donated about half her dress-up box–wow!), she paused at the stuffed animals. Like seriously paused. If you know my daughter (and lucky you if you do, she’s the happiest person on the planet) you know that stuffed animals hold a special place in her little heart. She loves them like family members. She talks to them, dresses them, and creates elaborate events for their plush enjoyment. I used to limit her to one small basket of stuffies (and probably proudly blogged about that once upon a time) but I quickly realized that one basket could not contain her stuffed animal love. So we added a second basket. Normally my professional organizer brain would say, “No! Set a limit and stick to it!” but in the case of my daughter’s stuffed animals, I just couldn’t do it. And that’s okay. She still gets the idea that we don’t acquire new playthings without donating old. She’s happy to donate almost anything, but not stuffed animals. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, her Christmas list consists entirely of stuffed animals… a third basket might be in the works!)
I urge you, make pre-holiday donating a tradition in your family. It will save you the stress of finding homes for new gifts after the ribbons are untied and the wrapping paper has made its merry way to the recycling. But more importantly, it’s good for all of us to remember that the holidays are not a time of plenty for many. While we are lucky to receive presents, not everyone is so fortunate. Developing a donation habit is one way I help my kids (and remind myself) that we have a responsibility to share our blessings with others.
So grab a box, grab your kids, and grab some stuff. And cheers to this season of giving!
Rose Lounsbury is the Dayton, Ohio area’s up-and-coming professional organizer. After blogging about her own journey toward a minimalist lifestyle, Rose was inspired to start Less, a minimalist-minded professional organizing company. If you’d like Rose’s help with an organizing project at your home or office, please call her at 937-626-9030, email her at [email protected], or visit her online at OrganizeWithLess.com.