The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer

toys-for-tots

Image courtesy of: Toys for Tots, www.toysfortots.org

Growing up, I always had the best Christmases. I never wondered if there would be presents under the Christmas tree. I realize,  as an adult, how extremely lucky and blessed I was to not know that feeling as a child. And because of this, I could look forward to Christmas morning.

For the past few years, I have chosen to donate toys to Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots is a non-profit organization run by the US Marine Corps as a way to provide hope to underprivileged children through gift-giving. They provide toys and gifts to children ages 0-12. I believe it is one of the best, large non-profits out there. According to Charity Watch, 80% of its funds go to its programs versus overhead costs.

Every year, I look forward to going out and buying toys. My mom is the one who began donating to this charity and inspired me to do the same. I usually try and buy toys that I either played with or would have liked to have as a kid. I spend months leading up to the time when I can actually go out and buy toys getting excited to shop for those kids who wish for an amazing Christmas. I get so much joy walking up and down the aisles, I feel like a kid again. I love the feeling of knowing that the Toys for Tots kids will at least have one toy to open on Christmas day.

If you are like me and had a privileged childhood, please think about donating a toy this year. Or if you were once a kid that could have benefitted from this non-profit, consider being responsible for the light in a child that was once you, and donate a toy if you’re now able. Even one toy can change a child’s Christmas. (With Black Friday approaching, now would be the perfect time to buy. Also, Target is having 30% off all toys this Saturday, November 19th, so check it out!) Look for a drop site to donate here. Or click here to give monetarily. We could all stand to spread a little Christmas cheer.

I’m getting a little old and a little out of touch on what’s popular, so if you have a young one, give me some ideas on what to buy this year by commenting below.

 

Advertisements

How We Got Engaged

I had absolutely no idea I was going to get engaged. I had wanted to go to NYC during December and being the persuasive person I am talked Avery into the trip as well. We planned everything out about a month before our vacation. I determined all of the bigger outings like the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. But the one place I was determined to go to was the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

We left Austin right after my last final of the semester and got to NYC around 9 pm. I didn’t think this next fact was a big deal, but looking back, it definitely should have been a red flag. The entire time we were travelling, Avery asked three or four times if I was going to do my makeup. I knew we were going to try and walk around after we checked into our hotel. Turns out, he was planning to propose that night, but it didn’t end up happening because we got into the city too late. And the reason he kept asking if I was going to do my makeup was because my mom told him to make sure I looked good for pictures or I would be upset (she was right).

Cut to the next night, we went to dinner at John’s Pizza (best pizza ever, btw). And afterwards we walked to Rockefeller Center. While we were walking there, Avery started acting very strange. I can’t recall exactly what he was doing or saying, but I distinctly remember him acting odd. This led me to thinking, “Oh my God, what if he’s going to propose?!” I promise I had no idea, before that moment walking to see the Christmas tree, that he might be proposing.

It was confirmed in my mind when he asked me if we should ask the police officer to take our picture in front of the tree. I told Avery something to the effect of “No, wtf, why him?!” I don’t know if he didn’t hear me or didn’t care, but he went and gave this cop his phone anyway.

He came back, got down on one knee and proposed. Don’t ask me what he said because I have no idea. Had I been more prepared for it, I might be able to remember a detail or two. I was absolutely in shock. We had talked about marriage before this trip. But definitely nothing that indicated he would be proposing in the near future. Of course I said yes, after getting over my initial shock.

So on December 16, 2014, we got engaged. Avery later told me how nervous he was which would explain his weird behavior. Another red flag I should mention and should have noticed, but I’m oblivious, is my brother calling that day asking if I had specifically gone to see the tree yet. I didn’t think anything of it until after the fact. Avery had gone to talk to my mom a couple weeks before. So my whole family was anticipating it while I obliviously thought I was just about to have a nice, normal trip to NYC.

Here are some pictures of our trip and of the proposal: