I love the holidays!
I mean, not the people screaming at each other in the Target parking lot part of the holidays, but the twinkling lights and mistletoe and presents under the tree parts!
And, as you guys know, I just got to give away over $2000 worth in presents in my annual holiday gift guide. Woot! That’s certainly even more holiday cheer, of course, but we got to take it even further!
Here’s the gist of how the gift guide works and how we are able to use it to bring some Christmas to the community: Every year, I get gobs of product pitches from brands wanting me to consider their pet products for the gift guide. I absolutely won’t recommend something we haven’t used ourselves or had the opportunity to test thoroughly, so what happens is all these brands send us stuff to play with. Lots of times, companies send things unsolicited even though my policies say not to do that. And sometimes we get items from companies that we already have purchased for ourselves. What does all this mean? I end up with a MOUNTAIN of pet products, some of which I bought myself, some of which were sent without me knowing they were coming, and some of which were testers for the gift guide.
The best part of that excess: I get to donate it all to the local shelter and rescues!
As I was sorting that pile of products to donate, I got an email from Christmas Tree Market, an artificial tree retailer, asking if I’d like to participate in their 2014 Christmas in the Community campaign.
Instead of just dropping toys off at the shelter or rescues, we could make the donation EVEN MORE FESTIVE!
So, Christmas Tree Market sent us a glitter-covered tree for the Monroe County Humane Association. John and I picked up a few boxes of LED string lights, bulbs, and a star topper, then we took the ornaments, three bags stuffed full of toys and treats, and the tree over to the MCHA to decorate.
John set up the tree while I unpacked the bags. Because the tree was tall and skinny, some stuff was too big or heavy, so we piled those as presents under the tree with bright, festive bows. I think it ended up looking really cute!
Those PetSafe puzzles will keep a shelter dog very busy this year!
We ended up using two boxes of bulbs – blues and greens to reflect the MCHA’s colors – and most of the toys. Since it’s in the window, we made sure to evenly disperse all the goodies the whole way around. The tree got pretty full, so instead of hanging the bags of treats on the tree, we passed them along to the MCHA’s education director.
What do you think?
It’s a tall, skinny tree, so it was hard to get the whole thing in one frame, but this was a way more fun way to donate all those toys and treats than simply dropping bags off! Plus, we hope it adds some festive cheer to their office – they are incredibly hardworking animal advocates. We were thrilled to have this opportunity to decorate and donate!
Disclaimer: Christmas Tree Market sent us the tree for free (and a wreath a few days later to thank us for our participation! fun!) and all the toys and treats pictured were either sent to me for free for consideration for the gift guide, were excess toys from other campaigns, or were directly purchased by me. I wasn’t compensated for this, but it sure was fun!