One of the things that’s so tough for parents around the holidays is witnessing your kids go from normal children with your average needs and wants to greedy little monsters, who think that every interaction between themselves and a relative is an opportunity for MORE PRESENTS.

One thing I didn’t really think about when I decided to celebrate Christmas with the kids was the onslaught of toys come December. Harlow’s birthday is at the end of November, Mazzy’s birthday is the beginning of December and then we have eight nights of Hanukah before Santa even contemplates visiting.

Then, of course, the grandparents all want their day in the sun to be the present-giving heroes. This year, we finally worked out a schedule so that each grandparent would have their own night of Hanukah so we wouldn’t double up on unnecessary gifts. We also decided to do one night of Hanukah with my sister, so that we could exchange gifts that night, instead of buying MORE for our own kids.

Another “problem” we ran into this year was that a lot of toy companies reached out to us to partner with them for the holidays, which meant my kids ended up with a lot of extra presents (some really BIG presents) that I probably wouldn’t have bought them all at once.

When Kid Made Modern reached out to collaborate with me for the holidays, I hesitated. I love Kid Made Modern. My kids love Kid Made Modern. But do we really need more presents? NO.

But then, Kid Made Modern told me the purpose of partnering with me was to give toys to a charity of my choosing. And even better, they wanted me to involve Mazzy and Harlow in the giving process, helping to select the toys that they thought suited the charity best.

They also allowed us to split up the gifts and give to a few of our favorite charities, so I had more of an opportunity to discuss the different organizations that needed toys around the holidays with my kids.

In addition to shipping the toys to our charities of choice directly, I asked Kid Made Modern to send a few gifts that my girls and me could wrap ourselves, so that Mazzy and Harlow could really have the experience of putting together something special for a good cause.

Mazzy’s top priority was her new birthday bud that she got this year through a NY based non-profit started by my two friends. Birthday Buds pairs your child with a child in need who is the same age and has a similar birthday. Then, a few weeks before their birthdays, instead of your kid just focusing on what she wants, she is sent a wish list from her birthday bud, with a special gift they want and a few essential items as well. In addition to those items, which we had already purchased, Mazzy decided to select a few Kid Made Modern items to accompany her gift. She picked out a Bright Bundle KitConfetti Crayons and a few Christmas ornament craft kits.

Mazzy and Harlow also wanted to select a few items for their upcoming Toys for Tots drive at school. They picked out the Rock Star Jewelry Making Kit, the Sparkle Stash and the Embroidered Notebook Kit. They’ll have to bring those items with them on the bus to drop in the collection bin next week.

Next, we decided to give toys to the Henry Street Settlement, which I explained was a local organization that provides social services, arts and health care programs for people in need in our community. They also operate three local shelters that offer permanent, temporary and emergency housing for homeless families, homeless women, and homeless female survivors of domestic violence and their children. We looked up the contact info and called them to arrange the delivery of 50 Kid Made Modern craft kits.

And lastly, we decided to donate toys to my sister’s school, a non-profit elementary school for special education in NYC. As the school psychologist, my sister set up a “school store,” where her students can go shopping for small toys in exchange for behavioral rewards. This was a great opportunity to explain to Mazzy and Harlow exactly what Auntie Yaya does for a living and why their toy donation would serve an important purpose. For the rewards, the girls chose smaller items like the Crayon Gemconfetti crayons, acrylic paint sets, neon watercolor sets, metallic watercolor sets and Christmas ornament craft kits.

Since the girls did such a great job selecting toys and seemed genuinely excited to give them away to people who needed them, Kid Made Modern also gifted a few of the craft kits to my girls. Mike and I gave them the kits on the third night of Hanukah. They looked excited, but also a bit confused.

“But wait! I thought we were giving these to charity!” Mazzy said.

I told Mazzy and Harlow that they had donated over 100 toys this holiday season and those toys were already on their way to where they were most needed. They should feel really good about that.

Then they crafted with their bright bundle, sparkle stash and metal mash-up craft kits until their hearts were content.

Mazzy made a chandelier out of gold poms and poms and pipe cleaners, which inspired her to create an entire room for her Barbie, complete with a full length mirror, framed pictures on the walls and a robot butler.

Harlow decided to color the underside of the wrapping paper to make any future presents, whether they were for us or for someone else, extra special.

And together, we all hoped that the kids who got the Kid Made Modern craft sets got as much enjoyment out of them as we did that night.


Kid Made Modern is giving you guys the chance to gift 100 Decorate Your Own Ornament kits to the charity of your choice too! To enter, you must be subscribed to the Mommy Shorts newsletter (you can do that here), and then comment below telling me where you would donate your winnings and why!


Congratulations to Erin Stephens! Please email to claim your prize!


This post was sponsored by Kid Made Modern, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.