Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The TRUE Spirit of Giving

The Junior League of Boca Raton again partnered with the Spirit of Giving Network for their annual Holiday Gift Drive. More than 3,500 local at-risk children made ornaments that listed their holiday gift wishes. These ornaments were then shared with members of the community to help fulfill. (Click here for more.)

Last year, I picked an ornament that said "gift card." You can never go wrong with a gift card, I'd thought. I went to the store, picked up the card, and that was that.

This year, I was feeling a little more...ambitious. (Let me pause here to say that I do not have any children, and my nieces & nephews are still toddlers. So, my knowledge of the latest, hottest toys is pretty much at zero.) I rifled through a handful of ornaments at our JLBR General Membership Meeting last month until I saw one from a six-year-old girl who wanted a Disney Princess 5-in-1 Princess Playset. Now that sounds like fun! I enthusiastically grabbed it.

The ornaments. Information about the child & their gift wish is at the bottom.

A few weeks later, I found myself in walking distance of a major toy store. Perfect. I walked in, shunned the store assistant's offer for help, and marched straight to what looked like an aisle dedicated to the Disney Princesses. I scanned the shelves.....and found nothing. Fine. I'll ask.

A few minutes later I was met with the first, "Sorry, ma'am, we don't have it." Odd. If it's not at the toy store, where can I find it?!

As luck would have it, I was in walking distance of another major retail store. I wasn't able to find anyone who worked there to assist me, but I walked up and down and up and down the toy aisles looking for a Disney Princess 5-in-1 Princess Playset. Nada.

The following week I tried another store with no luck. By this point, I realized it was time to go online. The first result from a Google search for "Diswney Princess 5-in-1 Princess Playset" was... disneystore.com. Of course! And---and---they had one!....wait....what does that say on the side? "Sold out."

Deep breaths.

That's okay....maybe they'll have one at an actual physical location. I called the Disney Stores in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs and Boynton Beach. 0 for 3. Although, I did get some helpful advice from one of the stores. "You should try online!" the cheerful lady suggested. I sighed (inwardly. She was so nice, I couldn't bring myself to unload my massive search saga on her.)

I was losing my mind. I was also kind of losing my holiday spirit. (And I mean more than "kind of.") I had to take a step back. Because, I was also losing the lesson. I was losing the true reason for the season, the true Spirit of Giving. I wanted so badly for this little girl to get exactly what she wanted, that I failed to see the real gift. The real gift will be when this little six-year-old girl *gets* a gift. A specific gift. Her very own. One that her family may not be able to afford to give her. The real gift is that I got the opportunity to take a little time and look outside of myself, and remember that there is more to this season -- more to life -- than getting stressed and getting everything exactly right. There's more to life than me. There's a six-year-old girl who, though circumstances, I am now connected to, in a way.

And she has a wish.

In the end, my little girl got this:

5 pieces + 1 gift = 5-in-1! Yes??

Not exactly the 5-in-1 she asked for, but I hope it makes her happy nonetheless.

And next year? I think I'm going back to gift cards.

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