Maybe you’re the world’s most organized person. Maybe your house is always clean, the laundry is always done, and the children’s toys are in labelled compartments, neatly stored in their rooms.
Or maybe your house looks a little more like mine with a healthy sprinkling of LEGO, books and miscellaneous art projects on almost every surface. I love Christmas, but there is a part of me that looks with unspeakable dread at the piles of toys knowing that more ‘stuff’ has just landed into my home. The feeling is compounded with one birthday in the fall and the second in late winter! It would be easy to shake my fist at the toy companies, but the problem is that I’m partly responsible, too. I can’t blame all the stuff on the grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, I also like to shop for them and spoil them on birthdays and holidays.
But sometimes, countless gifts aren’t the best way to show love. Instead of excitement, kids can quickly get overwhelmed by too many choices, bouncing from one gift to the next until they’re sitting in the middle of a pile of toys saying, “I’m bored!”
While it’s amazing and fun to celebrate each other at birthdays (and we should), do we need to celebrate with more stuff?
In October 2017 I launched WISH & GIVE —a different way to celebrate (and save your feet from stepping on discarded toys)! Each event supports a local charity or non-profit. It’s not only for children’s parties but grown-up parties too.
By using WISH & GIVE for birthday parties, children still receive a gift, but guests are asked to contribute towards one bigger, more meaningful, gift and to give a donation to charity on the child’s behalf. Imagine this: Instead of your child opening yet another stuffy that will collect dust one day, your child gets something they actually wanted, and they get to feel good about giving back.
What you support is completely up to you! I’d encourage you to sit down together to choose a charity or non-profit to support. You search by postal code to find a charity near you. It’s a great way to discover the amazing things happening right in your backyard. All 86,000+ charities in Canada are on the site and any non-profit can be added (just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
By refocusing celebrations, starting with young children, we will raise a generation of thoughtful, caring individuals who are just as concerned about the world around them as they are their own wellbeing. I’m seeing the fruits of this with the kids who have already used WISH & GIVE for their birthday.
So here is to less stuff (and foot injuries and clutter) and more giving!