Toys for Tots and other ways to play Santa!


Santa clause looking happy with lots of toys and a pipe

‘Santa’s Portrait’ byThomas Nast, published in Harper’s Weekly, 1881

Happy December everyone!  I’ve posted this article in the past (okay, just about every year), but I’m reposting it again because I feel that this is important.  If you can, please find a way to donate at least 1 game (or toy); it’s amazing what a little act of kindness can do for a child’s life. 

Santa Doesn’t Visit Every Good Child

In ~25 days there will be plenty of kids hoping Santa brought them something fun, and the unfortunate reality is that Santa doesn’t visit every good kid out there.

 There are plenty of kids who need someone special — like you and me — to donate a toy or game for their Christmas wish to be fulfilled.  We are all game lovers and I’m sure most of us jump at the chance to spread our love of games and if we all donate at least one, maybe we’ll make a whole generation of game-lovers!

How to Help

  • Toys for Tots — cash or tons of donation locations for new, unwrapped toys/games — but there is a deadline coming up QUICK!
  • Salvation Army’s Angel Tree — select a tag from their virtual tree to fulfill a wish (you may have to search their site)
  • Foster Organizations — find a local group to make a donation or adopt a child for the holidays.  (In Chicago area: Children’s Home + Aid)
  • Local Church, Community Group, TV Station, etc. — many allow you to “adopt” families or kids for the holidays and sometimes you get a little info about what they like to help you pick out the perfect toy/game, while others will take pretty much anything new (but check for restrictions like no magnets in donations going to hospitals).  (In Chicagoland: Becca’s Legacy)

Budget already kind of tight?  Here are places you can donate year round

(and many of these take gently used stuff so you have to make room after the holidays for your new games, consider donating some to one of these):

  • Local Children’s Hospital — if you’re in Chicago, consider Lurie’s (they have a wishlist) or Comer’s (their wishlist)
  • Ronald McDonald Houses — they can always use new toys/games for the families who stay there.
  • Community Groups like Boys and Girls Club* — also a great place to teach kids games if you want to get more involved.
  • Underserved schools, libraries, park districts, pre-schools, etc*. (you should see some of their game collections! eek!)
  • Senior Centers* — this isn’t really one for the kids, but there are plenty of lonely seniors around the holidays who would appreciate both new game donations to their centers and/or new people to play against — even if it’s just a few hands of rummy or a round of UNO or Scrabble. (In Chicago: Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, City of Chicago list of all local Senior Centers)

There are plenty of ways to give back — more than I could ever list — but I hope you do your part to make a random child’s (or Senior’s) holiday a little bit sweeter!  And I promise I’ll do my part too – cheers!