Before you head to the toy store, practice the three R’s
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It’s hard to look at the overflowing bucket of toys in your kid’s room and get excited to get them more useless pieces of plastic. I don’t mean to sound like a Scrooge, but my spoiled, American children have way too much.
I’m not going to go berserk and cancel Christmas or anything. Because you can’t cancel Christmas, it happens with or without the gifts, as the Whos in Whoville have proven. No, I just decided to do a “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle” on my children’s toys before the unwrapping of another useless piece of plastic.
Reduce – This first step I would do alone. Take a garbage bag and go through the room and throw out any toys that are broken beyond repair, stained beyond Tide-ability, contagious or booger-ridden. You definitely don’t want your kid around to see what is going in the garbage. You and I know that the headless pirate has got to go, but little Kylee, Kaylee, Haley, or Halle, may have another idea.
You would be surprised how quickly that garbage bag fills up and how much emptier the toy bucket will look.
Reuse – Your children own so many toys that they don’t play with just because the batteries are dead or the game is missing a crucial piece. Take the time to replace batteries and reunite toys and games with their important parts to make them fully functional again. It will be like Christmas morning in advance when your kids re-discover some of their well-loved toys and put them back in rotation. If you are lucky you might even save some dough by being able to cross some toys off your list because you were able to revive some old ones.
Recycle – This step is the most important and you will definitely want your kids’ help with this. Have them go through their toys and decide which ones they will donate to less-fortunate kids. Encourage them to be generous. Talk with them about how lucky they are and how happy they could help make another child feel. Then, don’t just put the box in the back of your car and drop it off at your convenience. Have the kids go with you to the thrift store, Goodwill, or shelter (wherever you are going to donate), and have them carry in the box and donate them personally.
This sort of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle ritual will help you feel less like a sucker and also help your Kylee, Kayle, Haley, or Halle understand and appreciate the reason for the season even more.