This year I decided I would accept toys from any company that wanted to send a test sample for our holiday gift guide. I wanted to make certain that the toys we recommended were parent/child tested and approved — and the only way to do that was to have them in hand.
So, first, I offer my apologies to Marlo and Kate, who seemed to appear in my office at least twice a day for six weeks, staggering under the weight of gigantic boxes. Secondly, I want to offer my thanks to everyone at the Minnesota Premier Publications office who brought home toys and let their kids have at them.
When I asked for the toys to be returned (with evaluations) a couple of weeks ago, many of the parents expressed dismay at having to take the toy from their child. “She loves her Baby Alive,” one said, concerned. Other parents would dump toys in my office, pronouncing them “junk.” So between a child’s utter captivation and parental input on quality, we compiled our gift guide for 2010.
So, what happened to the toys after evaluation and product shooting? The well-loved toys were returned to those children who were too young to understand why their new favorite truck or doll was taken away; some were donated to day care centers; and the few that were not opened or selected were given to Toys for Tots.
I am also captivated with another type of gifting entirely. Take a look at the volunteer organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters article on page 12. Christine Tomlinson, who has been a “Big” for more than six years, writes on how her mentoring experience has enriched her life in ways she never expected. It’s inspirational and heartwarming to know that the gift of time can be so gratifying.
Finally, we offer ideas to be charitable in simpler, less time consuming ways — online purchases benefiting causes we believe in. Turn to page 22 to read more.
As we end this year and move quickly toward 2011, I hope that you take time to reflect on all of the good things in your life, from family and friends, to simple pleasures and activities that keep your life vital. We at Minnesota Parent wish you a joyful holiday season, and a Happy New Year.