Playing Secret Santa

I headed to Toys R Us today, one of my least favorite stores, to see if their holiday layaway program was still active.

Holiday layaways at Toys R Us end tomorrow. (If the full balance of the layaway isn’t paid in full the money already paid is returned to the person who opened the account and the items are put back on the shelf.)

For the past three years I have played Secret Santa at Christmastime. The first year I paid some layaways off at Kmart a couple of days before Christmas.

Last year and this year I made it before the Toys R Us deadline passed. Their holiday layaway cutoff timeline seems to close earlier than other Big Box stores.

The manager who helped me found two families with younger children with items such as Legos, Hello Kitty mike stand and other fun things.

I love knowing two families will be happier and have presents under the tree for their kids this year because of me (and The Husband).

Someone in Massachusetts paid off 150 holiday layaways worth about $20,000 earlier this month.

In Ohio, a Secret Santa paid off $15,000 in holiday layaways this year.

Most … Continue reading

Playing Retail Secret Santa

Last year one of my friends posted on Facebook that he had paid off some layaways at Toy R Us at Christmastime.

I was in Tucson when I read this and was inspired.

My mother-in-law and I had gone to a yoga class one evening and I asked her if she would be willing to brave the crazy crowds (it was just two days before Christmas) to pay off some layaways. She was in.

(I wrote about this last year.)

We headed to Toys R Us and we’re disappointed to find out that their Christmas layaway program was closed. If the layaways weren’t paid off by a certain date the money deposited was returned and the items were put back on the shelf.

Not too discouraged we headed to Kmart, where we were able to pay off some layaways. Our hearts felt so big and warm afterward.

Knowing the Toy R Us deadline I made sure to not miss it this year. On Saturday I headed to the Toys R Us near me and helped three families put presents under the tree this year.

The woman helping me was grinning ear to ear the whole time we were working … Continue reading

Making Christmas happier for 3 families

As you know I am very in to helping others any way I can. I have a friend who takes it up a notch.

He mentioned on Facebook the other day that he read an article in USA Today about Layaway Angels. If you go to Toys R Us and pay off someone’s layaway balance Toys R Us will donate $200 to Toys for Tots. It’s a win-win-win!

My friend James went to a Toys R Us in Tucson and and asked the clerk what layaway had been there the longest. There was one from October with a $22 balance. He paid it and got to hear the clerk call the woman to tell her to pick up her toys. He could overhear the woman on the other end yelling for joy.

This is also happening at Kmart and Walmart (and I am sure other retailers as well).

From the USA Today article: Lisa Dietlin, a Chicago philanthropic adviser and author, says many Americans “are turning away from the traditional commercialism of the holidays,” and are “instead asking, ‘How can I help those in need?’”

This never occurred to me. And I just think it is great.

I am in Tucson … Continue reading