One of my favorite parts of Christmas is choosing gifts for the Marines Toys for Tots drive and church missions Giving Tree childrens’ gifts. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what kind of gift to choose. Here are some considerations to help.
Is this gift for a local or overseas mission? If the gift is going overseas, here is my article on Best Gifts for Overseas Missions.
If available, use the age and gender of the recipient to guide you. Toys for Tots is easier to shop for because they simple collect toys and distribute accordingly.
If there is a suggested gift amount choose gifts and toys that total that amount. $10-$25 are suggested amounts. You can mix and match toys up to that value also.
Avoid buying and giving:
Toys with many small parts (for younger children)
Toys with breakable parts
Toys that require batteries, unless your also purchase the specific batteries for the toy.
Toys that are cheaply made in foreign companies. I know, this isn’t easy anymore. So many toys are made overseas. But if you stick with familiar name brand toys, it helps.
Freebie toy give-aways (from McDonald’s Happy Meals, etc.). These products are often recalled.
Toys that require extensive adult involvement to assemble; many children who receive these gifts live in orphanages or foster care homes. What a shame if the toy they received at Christmas could not be enjoyed because there was no one to read instructions?
Food toys, toys with liquid, electrical toys, plug-in toys and unsafe toys
War toys, weapons, guns
video or digital products (difficult to get games and may not have access to a computer)
Do buy and give:
inflated soccer balls, kick balls, playground equipment, jump ropes, hand ball and racquet ball games, tennis racquet and tennis balls (can be hit against buildings and played without a net or partner), sport equipment, football, basketball
art supplies: markers, chalk, washable paints, self-contained art kits (with all supplies included), drawing pad, colored pencils and pencil sharpener, Play-Doh (I know it’s messy, but Play-doh is one of the most engaging art supplies on the market), Moon Sand
blocks, building toys, Lego products (older kids)
baby dolls and accessories
backpack or purse with jewelry, hairbrush, personal care items, hair toys
dolls with hair styling products
(for older children who can read) games, card games: Sorry, Life, Apple to Apples, Mousetrap, Clue, Yahtzee, Battleship, Cranium
(for younger children) non-reading games: Candyland, Hi Ho Cherry-O, Memory, Chutes and Ladders
This isn’t a definitive list, but it’s a great place to get started. Let your children help pick out the Giving Tree gifts and Toys for Tots presents. They love this service project and have excellent ideas. That’s where I got most of my ideas. The important thing is that you have a giving spirit. Thank you.