So. If you’ve been here long enough you know that every year we do The James Garfield Miracle, a strange but lovely event where people who might not otherwise be able to give their kids a present during Christmas/Hanukkah/whateveryoucelebrate post their small wishlist and then strangers randomly fill their lists. It is wonderful. And terrible.
Wonderful because…honestly, I don’t have enough room to put all the stories here and we’ve been doing it long enough that kids who were gifted once are now gifting other families. Some of these stories absolutely melt me and I’m so lucky to have been able to witness them or be a part of them.
And it’s terrible because of all the reasons you might expect. Mostly because after a decade of giving, the few scammers have found us and even though there aren’t many it can feel so disheartening and exhausting to deal with.
So many of you offered to help and I cannot thank you enough for all that you do and all that you offer but that is a giant responsibility with lots of potential issues and I never want to be in a position where I (or anyone on my behalf) has to decide who needs help and who doesn’t or who has to handle money or confidential information. And honestly there are already organizations out there who do this incredibly, like Toys for Tots and Elf Louise and a bunch of wonderful local groups and I totally encourage you to check them out right now if you need help or if you want to help.
So…will we still have The James Garfield Miracle this year?
Yes. But in a smaller and simpler way.
In the last ten years (ten years!) the miracle grew to include clothes and food and gift certificates and tech and shoes and it got nuts. And frankly, I understand the temptation some people had to ask for a lot because it’s scary to be without. But this year we’re going back to the simple way this started. Just one simple, but lovely present for each child. Does your kid need a present? Awesome. Because I really want to give them one.
So this year I’m going to come up with a few different choices that I think are great presents and if you need one you can choose one of those toys to put on your list. Or if you have two children you can pick two from the list. You get the idea. The main thing that I want to do is to make it to where the few scammers realize it’s not worth pretending to be people just so they can get extra play-doh. Plus, this is simpler and less overwhelming for parents and hopefully it will be much easier for everyone. And who knows…maybe in the future we’ll get big again. But for now, this seems good.
It’s totally okay if you decide not to help out this year and as always we’ll also be supporting Project Night Night (which sends wonderful care packages to displaced kids throughout the year). I have a few thousand dollars saved up to help buy toys but you should know that all of that money came from ads or affiliate links or book sales so even if you don’t spend anything know that you are helping people just by being here.
We won’t start this until next month but I do need some help now. The first thing that I need is any suggestions for what the gifts should be. I’m looking for substantial gifts that Prime eligible, are between $20-35 each, and that span from baby to teen but that an adult wouldn’t really be tempted to have. (Things I’m look at are: a magnetic building block set, a fancy art set for teens, a kids art set, a lego set, exploding kittens (the game, not actual kittens), a fluffy stuffed animal, the hardcover set of Curious George, etc.) Any suggestions?
The second thing I need is for you to share any suggestions you might have for people who are struggling this year. I suspect almost all of us have been there and if you are struggling please know that you are not alone. Just being with your children is a wonderful thing and it is not a lie to say that your kids favorite toy is you. Personally one of my favorite xmas memories was when my mom made a giant kettle of popcorn and we used a needle and thread to make giant strings of it to hang all over the house (And each other) and then my mom read us a million library books. To this day it is one of my favorite memories.
Thank you all for listening and for supporting and for just being altogether awesome. More on this in a week or two.