Christmas and the holiday season is stressful for many families who struggle with everyday expenses. When parents live paycheck to paycheck, it can leave very little money to purchase toys and items for family members during the holidays. No one wants to see a loved one, especially a child, without at least one gift to brighten their spirit during the holidays. There are many ways to get free toys for Christmas and the holiday season.
Toys for Tots
Run by the U.S. Marine Corps, Toys for Tots is an organization that secures and sorts toys donated by members of the community with locations nationwide. After filling out the application, a coordinator will contact the applicant. Toys for Tots aims to provide each child, ages newborn to 14, with one new large toy and one new small toy for Christmas. Items provided are limited to toys available at the time of the request. Application requirements differ based on geographic locations, but you may be asked for proof of residence, government assistance information and a birth certificate for each child you register. Distribution may be facilitated through local nonprofits. To get details about requesting a toy, contact your local Toys for Tots branch.
Local Assistance Groups
Inquire at community churches, which often coordinate toy drives in the weeks before the holiday. Even if they are not able to donate a toy, many also collect gift cards and food donations that are given to families in need, too. Additionally, if a child participates in services through agencies such as Early Intervention or Head Start, in which they are provided with free services due to income, developmental delay, or because of a traumatic event, reach out to the agency coordinator. Many of these organizations coordinate toy donations for the children in their programs during the holidays.
Check out websites such as Freecycle and Facebook Marketplace, where members use this resource to list items they are giving away for free. Families are frequently decluttering their playroom and want to sell or donate new or gently used toys, often for a fraction of the original price, in the months before the holidays. Many children do not notice if a toy has been gently used and will be excited to see something new and different.
Bloggers and writers on the Internet frequently offer contests on their websites for toys and other items provided by manufacturers, especially near the holidays. Visit websites such as Online-Sweepstakes to search for giveaways for specific toys and gifts. While it can be time-consuming and entrants will have to share their email, not all giveaways have a lot of entries, and the chances of winning can be good.
Find out about giveaways and contests with toy companies and bloggers on social media channels. Search for the toys you think your child would like, then like and follow companies on social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Create special lists of these companies and check their social media pages often to see if they are offering readers and fans a chance to win something new.
Contact a local toy company in your area, if there is one, as companies often coordinate focus groups and research activities for parents. Some companies have toy testing play labs for kids, where kids go into the company and play with toys that are currently in development. Often, children and parents are rewarded with toys and gift cards for sharing their time and opinions.