Lisa says: 'Tis the season to give back

A new tradition was born yesterday at Lisa and Peter's place. How do you give back this time of year?

By Lisa van de Geyn
Lisa says: 'Tis the season to give back

Addy dropping off toys at the hospital

So Hanukkah starts tomorrow night and Christmas is Sunday. Here's what I'm looking forward to: Peter off for a couple weeks, painting our bedroom, my mani/pedi tomorrow and having most of the family over Sunday morning for waffles (it's tradition). Here's what I'm not looking forward to: The absolute ton of toys and stuff I'm assuming the kids are going to get for Hanukkah and Christmas.

Being the first grandchildren, these kids are beyond spoiled. Their grandparents and aunties shower them with generosity — toys, clothes, RESP contributions and bank accounts, etc. You name it, their Bubby, Zaidy, GG, Opa and Nonna will get it for them. Of course we appreciate everything they've given the girls; that goes without saying. The thing is, Addy and Peyps have so many toys that I recently found some in closets and in the basement that have never been opened — most of them are things I picked up eons ago that I forgot about and the kids have now outgrown. 

About a month ago I went through a huge pile of toys, pulled out the things the kids either never knew about or don't use anymore (the gently used pieces) and packed them up. Yesterday morning we filled the car with three mammoth bags and the four of us drove down to Toronto's world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children to drop everything off. SickKids is a super important place to our family — thankfully we haven't had to take our kids, but my parents frequented the hospital more than 20 years ago when my sister was in and out, constantly seeing doctors. We have a local hospital, fire and police stations, malls and grocery stores that accept toys and donations this time of year, but dropping everything at SickKids was an easy choice. 

I took Addy in with me to drop off the presents. She was happy to share her toys with kids who "didn't feel good" and were "too sick to go home." She was genuinely worried about all the kids and said they'd be so excited when they came downstairs and found all their new toys. When we left she got into the car and told Peyton all about what she did, and she's been talking about it since. She's very proud. I'm very lucky.

Since we can't really afford to give big monetary donations to all the charities I'd love to contribute to, I think passing along toys to SickKids is something we'll start doing every year. (I love creating new traditions.)

Do you give back during the holidays? Are you starting any new traditions this year?

This article was originally published on Dec 19, 2011

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