Hello and welcome to year 12B of the James Garfield Miracle!
“12B?” you ask, wondering if I’ve lost my mind. Yes to both. Because I don’t use the unlucky number so it’s 10, 11, 12, 12b, 14, etc. This makes perfect sense if you have as much untreated OCD as me.
“Weird. But cool. But what is the James Garfield Miracle?” you ask.
My god, you have a lot of questions. But that is okay because I have a lot of answers. But first I should say that I’m coming out of a depression and I’m feeling better but still that sort of exhausted that makes me need to reserve my energy so I’m copying and pasting a lot of last years post because I am lazy and you are understanding.
So! 12 (+1) years ago I walked into an estate sale and fell in love with an ancient taxidermied boars head that seemed so damn happy to see me.
I did not buy him and spent a week in light mourning. Then the next week A MIRACLE HAPPENED and James Garfield came into my life forever. (I’m staring at him right now, in fact and he is still glorious.)
But Victor wasn’t completely thrilled that we’d spent $90 on a literal Christmas miracle of mangey fur and missing teeth so I decided that I’d make holiday cards of James Garfield to make up for it and if I sold a couple dozen it’d be like James Garfield was making us money.
But then everyone went crazy and James Garfield made more that week than I did in my actual job and so I decided that I’d take all the money James Garfield made and use it to give presents to the kids of people who were struggling that year because I have been there in the past myself. And I bought gifts for the first 30 something people and then I ran out of money but then suddenly everyone in the comments were like, “I WANT TO HELP A STRANGER IN NEED! LET ME BUY A GIFT FOR SOMEONE” and that’s how this suddenly became 12B years of a strange community project of strangers helping strangers anonymously and it’s pretty damn amazing.
Over the years we’ve had many different iterations of the James Garfield Miracle and the only real downside is that it can be easy for a scammer to slip in and ask for stuff for themselves so we decided to go back to the basics and just give out teddy bears. Why? Because everyone loves teddy bears (hell, I love teddy bears) and if someone is going to go to the trouble to make an entire wishlist account for a teddy bear they definitely need one.
So this year I am sending out 100+ teddy bears to kids here.
That’s it. Just sweet, snuggly teddy bears. Well, not just teddy bears because the teddy bears have eyes that babies can swallow (stop swallowing eyes, weird babies) so I’m also adding a few other stuffed animals you can choose from if you have an eye-devouring baby or your child has a bear phobia or Amazon sells out of teddy bears.
But that’s it. Simple. Easy. Not perfect because in a perfect world everyone would get everything they need but I’d like to imagine that even people who may be disappointed that we’re just doing stuffed animals will at least be happy imagining all the kids finding unexpected fluffy new stuffed animals in their arms this holiday. It makes me smile, at least.
So, if you are struggling this year and you need help getting your child a present for Christmas/ (late) Hannukau/winter solstice/whateveryoucelebrate then I am ready to Santa Claus it up and drop one lovely plushie at your doorstep. And I will walk you through how to get one anonymously.
Here are the links for the plushes. Choose the one that best works for your kid:
Currently these are all between $12-$23 each but Amazon can be wonky about changing up the prices when things run low or running out of stock so if I see that happening I’ll come back here to add other choices to choose from to replace any that sell out or suddenly skyrocket in price from $20 to $180. (Wtf, Amazon?) If I haven’t bought you a stuffy it’s probably because they sold out, jacked up the price or you forgot to add your address so just come back and try again.
(Also, I always use the profits I make on affiliate links to buy toys for kids and all of the royalties from the 2023 Bloggess Calendar go to this as well, so that means that if you’ve even clicked on a link this year then you are the reason why I’m going to be able to buy toys for at least 100 kids this year. That is amazing and I’m so grateful. Thank you!)
The wishlists will be posted in the comments so (as always) if you want to buy a present for a stranger you totally can. Or you can donate to Project Night Night, an amazing organization that provides a tote bag, book, stuffed animal and security blanket to homeless or displaced kids throughout the year. They are FANTASTIC and they have more requests than they can fill so I cannot recommend them enough. In fact, this afternoon I donated $500 to them in your name. Happy holidays!
(Also, I know a lot of you are asking why I don’t just do this through my bookshop instead of Amazon and I’d love to but 1) our wonderful team would be swamped with extra work 2) we don’t have a way to make a registry work online yet. We’re still working on something, but not this year.)
SO…if you want in on this you have to read all the directions and stick to the rules or otherwise you will be set on fire and pushed out a moving plane. Or maybe I’ll just delete your comment and look at you with that disappointed look your mom gives you when she knows you’re trying but are still fucking up. One of those. Here are the rules:
IF YOU WANT TO GIVE:
Okay, how do I do this?
You are my special angel. Just look in the comments and find someone who has an unfilled Wishlist. I’m going to fill least 100 stuffed animal wishes but there are always more than I can handle. (If there’s nothing on their list when you click it it means their toy was already bought- yay!) Buy their present and make sure when you check out that you select their shipping address instead of defaulting to yours. (It won’t give you their full address but it’ll tell you the town you’re shipping it to so you can compare it to their comment to make sure you have the right person.) If you try to fill a wishlist but it doesn’t give you a shipping address to choose that means the person didn’t assign a shipping address to their list so delete their present out of your cart and go on to the next wishlist. If it says “these are duplicates. Someone else may have already bought this” when you try to check out then someone else has already bought that stuff so delete it and try another one. I’ll update the comments as I can to note which ones have been filled but it can get a bit backlogged when I’m in the car or sleeping. 🙂 Please do not fill any wishlists that don’t say where the person lives in the comments or any wishlists where the person doesn’t stick to the rules, please. (This is one way we make sure that people are who they say they are while still giving them anonymity.)
But what if I don’t live in America?
Check the comments because we often have Canadians and others outside the US who need help and I can’t fill those lists because shipping kills me so if you want to adopt a family, this is a great way to do it.
IF YOU NEED HELP:
You are my special angel. Here are the things you have to know and if you do them wrong you’ll get deleted so read carefully, okay?: You have to make a BRAND NEW wishlist today, you can only choose one stuffed animal per child to put on your wishlist, and it has to be one of the ones above. I’ll walk you through it below. Then just come to this post and leave a comment telling us the city and State you’re in (this location has to match what you have on your wishlist), how many kids you have, and a link to your wishlist. Do not make multiple wish lists. Just make one. One of the most important things (people do this wrong every year so PLEASE do this part right) is that you have to assign a shipping address for this specific wishlist. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done it before or think it’s on your profile. You have to do it for this new wishlist specifically today or it won’t work. I’ll give you the details on setting up the wishlist below.
What if I want to make wish lists to surprise other people who I think need help?
Nope. Because then we end up sending multiple things to the same people. But you can totally encourage them to go online and make their own. This is for anyone struggling to get a toy for their child this holiday (and yes, that totally includes adult children with special needs).
I’ve never done this before. How do I make a wishlist?
It’s pretty quick and easy if you follow the formula. I’ll walk you through step by step:
On Amazon, click on “Accounts & Lists” (on the top right) and then on “Create a list”on the drop-down.
Name it “James Garfield 2022” then choose “create list”. This will give you a blank private wishlist with nothing on it.
On the right you’ll see something that says “…More“. Click on that and choose “Manage list.” Change “private” to “PUBLIC” so we can see it. In the “description” part just put how many kids your list is for. YOU MUST ADD YOUR ADDRESS FOR THIS SPECIFIC LIST so click on the drop-down for the shipping address and change it from “none” to your address. PLEASE DON’T SKIP THIS PART. Please make sure that the checkboxes for “Alexa can add items”, “keep purchased items on your list” and “don’t spoil my surprises” are NOT selected. Now go back and double check everything in this paragraph. Is it all good? Awesome! Click “Save changes”. (It’ll also ask if you want to share your address with sellers and you can if you want but you shouldn’t have to since none of these are coming from third parties.)
Now just go pick one of the above stuffed lovies for your kiddo. When you have the one you want click on the “Add to list” drop down arrow on the right (it’s under where the price is) and then select your “James Garfield 2022” list. Click “view your list” to make sure it’s added. If everything is right you should have your stuffed animal(s) on the wishlist page and when you click on the “…more” button it should say that your wishlist public and your address should show up in the “…more” box and “don’t spoil my surprises” and “keep purchased items on your list” should NOT be checked. (People will see the city and state you are in but your last name and the rest of your address is hidden from everyone else.)
If you have another kid just go back to the list and pick a present for them and add it to the same list.
Copy the link to your wishlist. Now you go to the comments below and leave a comment saying how many kids you have, what city and state you are in, and a paste in the link to your wishlist. That’s it!
So for example, I would say, “Hi. I live in San Antonio Texas, and I have one kid who would love a stuffed lamb. Here’s my list: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2M53431MTM6DN?ref_=wl_dp_view_your_list Thanks!”
Now…to go shopping. Happy James Garfield Day!
PS. Please please please double check before you hit the submit button that you have assigned a shipping address to your wishlist, that it’s “public” and that your comment has a link to your wishlist, the city and state you live it and the number of kids you have. Love!
PPS. This is one of my favorite things to do each year but it isn’t perfect. Every year some boxes go missing. Some get delivered after Christmas. Miscommunications happen. But I’d rather try to do something small and wonderful even if it isn’t perfect. Thank you to every single person who asks for help, to every single person to who helps and especially to those who have done both. Every year we have people who’ve been helped before who are so happy to help this year, or people who’ve helped before but now need help themselves. I know what it feels like to be in both of those places and I’m wishing love and light to every single person who reads this.
PPPS. When you choose something for your wishlist make sure it still says “delivers before xmas” because some of the things may sell out and not restock in time. 🙂 As of the time I’m writing this all the stuffed animals arrive before xmas but if they start to sell out and have to restock it might cause your stuff to come in later.
PPPPS. UPDATED: This has never happened before but apparently Amazon has put a limit on how many of certain toys you can buy because it’s now telling me that I’ve hit my limit on buying the catacorn and the long-eared bunny. So weird. So I’m still filling everything I can until I hit my limits but there might be some I can’t get to or might have to come back to. Just FYI. I added a sloth and penguin to the list above to give some more options. I’ll make notes in the comments so you know. Love!