Starting right after thanksgiving, a group of us pick a Tuesday night and all meet at a local store to get our assignments. Current members, past chiefs, and family members all spend a couple hours picking out hundreds of toys for children ages newborn to 17. Dozens of carts are filled and shelves are emptied as we purchase hundreds of dollars worth of toys, books, and gifts. We gather coupons, have gift card donations from the employees, and pick certain nights to get the most discounts possible. From baby dolls to transformers, bottles, to basketballs, our carts and hearts are filled with the fun memories of childhood and what gifts kids would want to open on christmas morning.
The group who bought all the gifts!
Look at that receipt!
You can see how long the receipt is!
After we have purchased and received all the toys and have them organized by gender and age group, we are ready to wrap. Three to four nights a week during the entire month of December we all gather down at the station and wrap presents for the families. Its fun to pick out different toys and games to wrap for these children and imagine how excited they will be christmas morning to open them. Just think, if we didn't wrap gifts for these children, there are some who wouldn't have anything to open on Christmas morning.
Dan trying out one of the donated bikes!
All the bikes, waiting to be delivered!
When I married a firefighter, I didn't just marry in to his immediate family, I got an entire fire department family as well. When I think about the different traditions our family has, some of my favorite ones are the ones we share with our family at the fire department. Not only do our firefighters share a bond, but all of their loved ones do as well. I am so thankful for the support, love, and traditions we all share during the holidays and all year long. I encourage you to find a local program like our Toy and Joy program this holiday season, and donate a toy or your time to help make a child's christmas morning better! I can honestly say, it will be one of the highlights of your holidays!