The turkey is in the oven, my family is all home together and I’m settling in with my Thanksgiving Day newspaper—it’s time to narrow down my Black Friday shopping list. As I sat in the early morning quiet, waiting for the oven to preheat, I couldn’t help reflecting on our blessings. When we spend so much time focusing on budgets & frugality it’s easy to get caught up in everything we don’t have—no cable, no fast food, no extra money to get the big “wants” on the girls’ Christmas lists.
But, when I stop to think of everything we have—an amazing school where the girls thrive, good health (well, generally), a nice home, 2 cars, more “stuff” than we could possibly need—I’m forced to realize that we are completely spoiled. I do try to give back where I can—but it’s never enough. That’s why I’m loving the Giving Inexpensively series, featuring Alicia from Making Time for Mommy. She provides opportunities beyond the things I’m already doing.
Food bank donations, Girl Scouts, PTO—they’ve all become such a part of our everyday routine that it hardly counts anymore. I’m not planning to give any of that up, but I am challenging myself to find new ways to truly give of my blessings. I watched in awe of my friend Angie all month—her 29 Gifts series was inspiring in ways she could never have imagined. I think I’ll start 2011 with something similar. The idea of giving something every, single day will really force me to think outside my comfort zone.
Right now, our giving consists of contributing to the girls’ classroom service projects. Stacia’s class is collecting for the food bank—their goal is 500 pounds of cans! In addition to cleaning out the pantry as I do each year for this food drive, I bought a couple cases of canned fruit during Kroger’s Mega Event. Brenia’s class is collecting toys for tots—they’ll be delivering them to a local news station next week to film a commercial for the station’s annual toy drive.
This year, I’m focusing specifically on tweens & teens—they are so often neglected with this type of program. Best Buy typically collects video games, movies & music through Toys for Teens. I haven’t seen specifics for 2010 yet, but I’m excited to see that Ubisoft is an official Toys for Tots partner. I hope that means lots of video games for tweens in need. We just had the opportunity to try their Just Dance 2 Wii game at a House Party—so. much. fun. Plus, the Clever Girls sent Style Lab: Fashion Design—straight off Brenia’s wishlist.
With the latest Style Lab, kids can not only be their own fashion designers, but they can actually order and wear their creations! We haven’t ordered anything just yet, but Brenia is so excited about it! Once she has created a shirt, hat or bag on her DS, we have the option to upload to a Zazzle boutique for purchase. This is quickly going to become her favorite—and, I have a feeling her big sis will be a little jealous & regret not sharing games.
DS games top Christmas wish lists this year for tweens & teens everywhere. I’ve decided to pick one up for the toy drive. Each year, I buy at least one toy while I’m Black Friday shopping—I’m already there, spending money and I can typically find a great deal on something suitable for donation. With Ubisoft’s amazing values (I still can’t believe Just Dance 2 is only $39.99!), I know there will be plenty of options even on my limited funds.
And, that’s where the challenge comes in—I’m encouraging all of you to do the same! Whatever your budget, there’s going to be something you can add to your cart for a child in need. Can you buy just one thing while you’re out this Friday? If your budget allows, you might even challenge yourself to find something at each stop. Just imagine the impact Black Friday shoppers could have if all 200 million of us donated just one toy!
While Ubisoft provided me with this game to review, the opinions I’ve expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint. Ubisoft, Clever Girls Collective and I promote Blog With Integrity. Just Dance 2 was provided by House Party, Inc.