How to Reduce Clutter, Prevent Lego-Related Foot Injuries and Make a Better World
This time of year brings out excess. I need to get my kid the hottest toy this holiday season or I need that perfect Kate Spade handbag for example. We often forget about giving back. We do a Kris Kringle everywhere with my extended family and in all honesty, I would rather do something good than get a another sweater or PJ set that I will return.
It’s the perfect introduction to fellow mom Julie LeJeune. Here’s her story on how to minimize clutter and injury by doing good:
Maybe you’re the world’s most organized person. Maybe your house is always clean, the laundry is always done, and the children’s toys are in labelled compartments, neatly stored in their rooms.
Or maybe your house looks a little more like mine with a healthy sprinkling of Lego, cars, dolls and miscellaneous art projects on almost every surface. I love Christmas, but there is a part of me that looks with unspeakable dread at the piles of toys accumulating in brightly wrapped piles knowing that more ‘stuff’ is about to be launched into my home. The feeling is compounded with one birthday in the fall and the second in late winter! It would be easy to shake my fist at the toy companies, but the problem is that I’m partly responsible, too. I can’t blame allthe stuff on the grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, I also like to shop for them and spoil them on birthdays and holidays.
But sometimes, countless gifts aren’t the best way to show love. Instead of excitement, kids can quickly get overwhelmed by too many choices, bouncing from one gift to the next until they’re sitting in the middle of a pile of toys saying, “I’m bored!”
While it’s amazing and fun to celebrate each other at birthdays (and we should), do we need to celebrate with more stuff?
In October 2017 I launched WISH & GIVE —a different way to celebrate (and save your feet from stepping on discarded toys)! Each event supports a local charity or non-profit. It’s not only for children’s parties, think holidays, events, weddings, or grown-up parties too.
By using WISH & GIVE, children still receive a gift, but family and guests are asked to contribute towards one bigger, more meaningful, gift and to give a donation to charity on the child’s behalf. Imagine this: Instead of your child opening that ugly sweater from Aunt So-and-So that they’ll never wear, your child gets something they actually wanted, and they get to feel good about giving back (and so does Aunt So-and-So!).
What you support is completely up to you! I’d encourage you to sit down together to choose a charity or non-profit to support. You search by postal code to find a charity near you. It’s a great way to discover the amazing things happening right in your backyard. All 86,000+ charities in Canada are on the site and any non-profit can be added (just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
By refocusing celebrations, starting with young children, we will raise a generation of thoughtful, caring individuals who are just as concerned about the world around them as they are their own wellbeing. I’m seeing the fruits of this with the kids who have already used WISH & GIVE for their birthday.
So here is to less stuff (and foot injuries and clutter) and more giving!
ABOUT JULIE LEJEUNE
Julie LeJeune created Wish & Give to solve a problem. As a dedicated volunteer, she noticed small, local charities don’t always have the time or the means to raise funds and awareness. Julie is also a busy mom who plan many events throughout the year: baby and wedding showers, housewarming parties, birthday parties, retirement parties, anniversaries, graduations – the list just keeps going. She even helps organize ticketed events for artist friends and the charities they volunteer for. And that’s how Wish & Give was born – as a way to help Canadians help local charities help others. So Julie went to work, creating a unique, easy-to-use platform for community members to plan events and raise money for their favourite local charity.