Nov 28 2011

The Great Christmas Toy Purge

It’s not what you don’t have that breaks you, it’s when you don’t think you matter, that you become broken.

Love the traditions this time of year.  Putting up the lights, decorating the tree.  Personal favorite:  The Great Pre-Christmas Toy Purge. 

Got motivated yesterday and went through the kids toy boxes and purged stuff that they don’t play with it…filled up 2 bags to donate… while the sunshines were turning a box into a boat with crayons…ironic.

Do this every year to make room for the influx of new toys.  It just feels so excessive sometimes.

Took the bags out to my car last night, than turned on 60 minutes while cleaning up the kitchen and tossing some leftover chicken nuggets in the trash.

I met Austin and Ariel.  Two kids that seemed about 12 and 15 that are homeless.  Their mom died recently, their Dad is out of work, their home was foreclosed, and now they are living in a truck, and they look at it as an adventure.  Ariel said, “It’s not really that much of an embarrassment, it’s only life.  You do what you need to do, right?” 

It’s life for a lot of kids.  1 out of every 4 kids in America lives in poverty, and here I am living in such excess where I have bags of things to give away. 

Austin and Ariel, don’t complain about what they don’t have.  They make the best out of it.  They go the library every day to study, use the computer, and stay warm.  In the interview, Ariel said, in her words she wants to be a “child defense attorney”.  I think that she just might grow up to be the best one ever.

It’s not what you don’t have that breaks you, it’s when you don’t think you matter.  Austin and Ariel matter.   

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Comments (8) -

11/29/2011 5:52:06 AM
Sidney Clark United States
Sidney Clark
Having 4 kids myself, I understand the need for the toy purge ritual.  Reading your story proves that ages is not always associated with wisdom. Material things come and go, but it is those tokens of knowledge, experience and wisdom that we hide in our hearts and mind that will make the difference in all we do.

I have yet to see any toy be able to provide that same feeling of accomplishment, whether you are little kid or big kid.

The greatest source of this type of satification can be found in one book called the B-I-B-L-E.  
11/29/2011 9:27:22 AM
Kim G United States
Kim G
This year I let my four kids "help me". We went through their stuff together and I got a good idea of what held special attachments for them. I still went back later and was a little more thorough, but they got to give of themselves to others.We went to the drop off together. I remember doing the same with my mom when I was little. Can be kind of sad all that stuff when you think of all that we don't use. All the clutter we complain about. How can we be overcome with stuff and not be taking care of those in need right here around us. Doesn't God call  us to do that?
11/29/2011 9:55:05 AM
Karen H United States
Karen H
My husband and I learned very quickly once we had children, how crazy and overwhelming all of the presents can be.  About 6 years ago, we heard someone say that Santa brings four presents to each child:

Something they want,
Something they need,
Something to wear,
and something to read.

My oldest was about 10 when we started this giving tradition. And I have to admit we were a little worried that he (and my other two) would be disappointed on Christmas morning.  But when the time came to open the presents, all three of my boys were just as happy and they didn't miss the "Great Mound of Presents!" And now, I am happy to say that we don't have as much to purge anymore!!
11/29/2011 11:04:40 AM
Donna Perry United States
Donna Perry
Amanda, when I hear you on K-Love, I always think "she missed her calling as a counselor".  Then I realize, no - she is a counselor in a different medium, the radio.  You administer to thousands more than you ever could in a private practice!  Thank you for your following your calling!
11/30/2011 7:00:29 AM
Tanya United States
I was a single mother for 4 years and every Nov my son and I would clan out his toy box of all the mcdonald stuff and other toys and give to the local mission. I told my son that everyone deserves a surprise on christmas morning and if you believe in santa that one would come not matter where we or you are. Beleiveing in something you cant see can be really hard but it is easier when others see the results.
12/1/2011 8:11:49 AM
Gennifer United States
the children lost most of their toys in this last move..but that's ok.  I get to start all over at Christmas because we don't do Santa.  I have 2 things for each child picked up just have to pick them up plus the clothes LOL and gloves always needs gloves..they tend to walk away.  The children make a list of who they can get for or do for.  This  year my 5 yr old is making Christmas ornaments from fun foam I have at the house and bracelets for her teachers.  The boys are going to be doing for others like helping an elderly lady or gentleman put their packages in their car for them w/o being paid.   We have fun with it.  
12/1/2011 8:12:01 AM
Elspeth United States
Our church started this a couple years ago. They encourage us to take part of what we normally would spend on Christmas and give it those in need. To help, they provide various opportunities and suggestions of places we could give. Check it out. It's awesome!
12/1/2011 8:18:41 AM
Jackie D. United States
Jackie D.
Jesus got three presents and we use that in our family.  3 come from us parents and 3 come from Santa.  This also includes any gifts we might give as a group gift to the kids.  It includes Karens suggestion in that they all get things like a matching clothing item, a book, and something they have been asking for.  We normally get the socks and underwear and Santa gets to bring the cool thing stuff.  Last year we did three "group" presents from Santa for outside use and then each child got a book, a shirt and they all asked for a flashlight(?).  
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