Raise your hand if you have too many toys. Just me?
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas. And I’m beyond grateful to anyone who shares their time and money to bless my child with a gift. However, I would be lying if I said the mere thought of adding more loot to our already overflowing toy closet didn’t give my OCD, Type A heart a few palpitations this time of year.
Last year, a close friend mentioned the idea of a “Santa Basket” and all the sirens in my brain immediately went off. YES! Brilliant! We are doing this!
The idea is simple, you give toys BACK to Santa so he can take them to other children on Christmas Eve (I mean, how else does ONE DUDE get enough toys to cover the ENTIRE world in one night if he doesn’t recycle a few here and there, right?)
I knew this could potentially be a tricky sell, so the week before Christmas (on a day everyone was in a good mood) I grabbed my son and a small basket and headed to his toy closet. We sat down and discussed Christmas and the general concept of gift giving. I emphasized that he would be receiving LOTS of new toys and explained that we also needed to make room for his new toys by giving the items he no longer played with back to Santa who could take them to other children who needed them. I started with a few of his current favorites and explained that these would be staying. I also made it clear that we didn’t have to get rid of anything he didn’t want to part with. Once he was warmed to the idea, I moved on to the items I knew were getting very little love. We talked about each item and I encouraged him to place them into the Santa Basket if he felt he was done playing with them.
When the basket was full, I set it up on the top shelf so he could see it, but not retrieve any of the toys. In the days that followed he would ask about the basket and I would simply remind him he had chosen those toys for Santa to take to other children. I also reminded him he would be getting something from Santa as well and tried to divert his attention to what he might want to ask Santa to bring him.
On Christmas Eve we set his basket out along with milk and cookies for Santa right before bedtime. By this time, he was well aware of what was happening and almost excited at the idea of leaving something for Santa. It was weird, y’all.
And it only gets weirder. In June he brought me a toy and told me he was ready to put it in his Santa basket. Pardon? Say what? Needless to say I seized this opportunity and grabbed the closest basket I could find.
I’m not sure WHY this is the one thing that really stuck with him, but it did. He talks about it regularly and I’ve even been able to suggest we add those “special toys” that drive me absolutely batty (cough, drum set, cough) on occasion when the timing it right.
The Santa Basket has definitely become a tradition in our family. A few tips if you are planning to try this with your little one: 1) Be sure you hide the basket REALLY well after Santa comes or you may have some major explaining to do. 2) If it doesn’t work, don’t force it. Not every thing works for every child. 3) Pick the largest basket you can reasonably get away with (this years basket will be MUCH larger than 2014).
Will you try a Santa Basket this year? How do you cycle toys out of the house?