I grew up in a house where my parents worked hard to be sure that we kids had a nice Christmas. We weren’t rich by any means, but my Mom and Dad did the best they could. They loved seeing us kids happy on Christmas. It wasn’t until I was quite a bit older that I realized that there were children far less fortunate that don’t receive anything. It’s rather sobering, and completely saddening. The idea of children not having a gift to open on Christmas morning is absolutely heartbreaking to me. There are more of these children out there then you may realize. So many, in fact, that in 1947 the US Marine Corps created the www.ToysforTots.org Program. Since that time, the Marines have distributed over 469 million toys to over 216 million needy children. Wow, that is an astonishing number. It’s a number so big that you might even think that nothing could make a dent in it. But there is.
You can make a dent. Yes, YOU. This year Betty Crocker partnered with the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation with the goal of making a difference to at least 2,000 needy children. That’s where you come in. There are a three main ways that you can help.
- You can donate money. One hundred percent of all donations to directly to Toys For Tots and are used to buy toys. Donations can be made online, by mail and even via ebay.
- You can donate toys. Pick up a couple of toys and the visit ToysForTots.org to find the toy drop-off location nearest you.
- You can host cookie exchange parties. The first 1,000 people that sign up at www.bettycrocker.com/toysfortots to host a cookie exchange/toy donation party will receive a special cookie-making kit from Betty Crocker including the Betty Crocker The Big Book of Cookies cookbook, Betty Crocker apron, cookie mixes and frostings, mixing spoon, Toys for Tots train-shaped cookie cutter, and party-hosting information and toy donation forms.
I hosted a cookie exchange party as part of this project, and it was a lot of fun. Basically, to host a cookie exchange party you invite people over to your house for a fun holiday party. Ask your guests to bring some cookies, and a toy that can be donated to Toys For Tots.
I received one of the special kits mentioned above, and we made a bunch of cookies. I had my youngest help me, not only because I like hanging out with him and letting him help, but also because I think it’s important to try and teach children to be giving. We started with sugar cookie mix and did lots of different things.
We made some cookies that came out more like little cakes, because the cavity got a little overfilled. For those we put some icing on some, some chocolate in some, and some strawberry preserves in some. We also made some fun shaped cookies, including candy canes, christmas trees, snowflakes, and trains. We also made some regular drop cookies that we decorated with colored sugar crystals, and some thumbprint cookies using applesauce in some and strawberry preserves in some.
My son had the most fun using the cookie cutter to help make the shaped cookies. Then, he helped me decorate them.
To make these holiday shaped sugar cookies we made the Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix according to the package. Then we make the cookies into shapes using cookie cutters. Then we baked according to the directions on the packet. Once the cookies were baked, which only took a few minutes, we let them cool a little. Then we iced the cookies using Betty Crocker white icing. Then we used colored sugars and jimmies to decorate.
Our guests brought packaged cookies except two, who brought chocolate chip cookies. I think the others misunderstood but we had fun anyway and it was all for a good cause. We collected a nice little pile of toys that I know will make some children very happy on Christmas morning. And knowing that we helped make a difference to some children makes me very happy too. Even happier then cookies make me.
ONE winner will receive a special cookie making kit.
HOW TO ENTER. (MANDATORY)
To enter leave a comment on this post telling me what kind of cookie you’d make if you were hosting or going to a cookie exchange party.
5 – Subscribe to my email feed, and confirm your subscription. Leave 5 comments for this.
2 – Follow @valmg on Twitter AND leave your Twitter name here. Leave 2 comments for this.
1 – Tweet this giveaway. Leave the link to your Tweet in your comment. Two tweets daily is the max for this method of entry.
2 – “Like” Valerie Gray on Facebook. Leave 2 comments for this with your name.
3 – Follow valmg on Pinterest. Leave your Pinterest name in your comment. Leave 3 comments for this.
3 – Pin this giveaway. Leave 3 comments for this, with the link to your pin.
2 – Subscribe to my newsletter. (at top of sidebar) – Leave 2 comments for this.
2 – Subscribe to my YouTube channel. (at top of sidebar.) – Leave 2 comments for this.
1 – Subscribe to my RSS feed. (at top of sidebar) – Leave 2 comments for this.
3 – Blog about this giveaway, including a link here. – Leave 3 comments for this.
2 – Place my button (button code in sidebar) on your blog and leave link to your blog. – Leave 2 comments for this.
1 – Leave a relevant comment on any other non-giveaway post on this blog. Unlimited entries for this method of entry. Leave a comment for each.
2 – Visit my other blog – Mom Knows It All – and leave a relevant comment on any non-giveaway post. Then return here and leave a comment on this post telling me one thing you read or learned there. (That’s two comments you need to leave for this bonus entry, one there and one here.) Unlimited entries for this method of entry, leave a comment for each post you commented on.
1 – Visit HereAndThere.US (my Mom) and leave a relevant comment on any non-giveaway post there. Then return here and leave a comment on this post telling me one thing you read or learned on my Mom’s blog. (That’s two comments you need to leave for this bonus entry, one here and one there.) Unlimited entries for this method of entry.
Leave an additional comment for each entry you qualify for. You must have completed the first entry according to the instructions to be eligible for any bonus entries.
THE SMALL PRINT.
The winner will be selected using the “And the winner is” plugin. US addresses only please, no PO Boxes. This contest will end on Saturday 12/21/13 at 11:59 pm est. If you’ve entered any of my giveaways before then you know that only comments containing all of the requested information will be eligible for entry. The winner must contact me to confirm they wish to receive the prize within 24 hours of my email notifying them they’ve won. Good luck to everyone!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.