What is it? PROJECT SECRET SANTA is an idea I put together to benefit Jack's Toy Drive in memory of Jackson Malia. Let me tell you a little bit about this special boy before I get into the details of how it works.
Jack is the son of one of my fellow moms of multiples and triplet to Katie and Charlotte. He was born on October 11, 2007 at St. Barnabas Hospital in New Jersey. He and his sisters all weighed three pounds at birth, but while his sisters were released from the NICU after 4 weeks, Jack struggled. On November 13, 2007, he was airlifted to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, one of the leading children's hospitals in the country, and his family had high hopes they would be able to help him. Unfortunately, Jack continued to deteriorate, and on January 2, 2008 he passed away.
Jack spent Christmas 2007 in the hospital and his family was so touched by the fact that Santa came to visit their sweet boy and brought him some small gifts. In his memory, they started Jack's Toy Drive so they can do the same for other children who will wake up in hospitals this Christmas morning.
Last year's toy drive gathered more than 200 toys (read about it here). This year, through PROJECT SECRET SANTA, AFOMFT would like to help Jack's Toy Drive top that number and we'd love to have you be a part of it! Here's how it will work.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing recipes, craft projects and party planning suggestions to help you throw your own Secret Santa party. But instead of buying gifts for other guests, we're suggesting that you ask your guests to buy gifts to donate to Jack's Toy Drive. And you can do that two ways - Jack's Toy Drive has an Amazon Wish List of toys that can be purchased and shipped directly to the charity or you can collect your own - maybe ask everyone to bring a teddy bear or something else that fits in with your theme. If you live in the New Jersey area, Jack's Toy Drive culminates on December 11th with a Breakfast with Santa at the Bloomfield Fire House where you can come and drop off all of your donations. For AFOMFT readers who collect toys during PROJECT SECRET SANTA and live outside of the New Jersey area, I will provide pre-paid shipping labels so you can mail them to the Jackson Malia Fund to be distributed. Oh, and as if giving back isn't incentive enough, the reader who collects the most toys will win a $100 American Express Gift Card. How great is that?
And here's something really fun - some amazing vendors, designers and bloggers have jumped on board to provide you with all of the tools you'll need to make your Secret Santa party memorable. Whether you want to have a kid's party, a cookie exchange or a girl's night in, my amazing partners in PROJECT SECRET SANTA will be sharing free printables, food and cocktail recipes, decorating tips and more! Want to know who's on board?
Is that a fantastic list or what? Stay tuned for all of their wonderful contributions to PROJECT SECRET SANTA! Throwing your party will be as easy as 1-2-3 thanks to all of these fabulous ladies.
For those of you who don't already know this, my girls were born at 27 weeks, and due to some serious complications, Alaina spent her first Christmas in the NICU. Being in the hospital on what should be such a joyous day is so so hard. Knowing that we have the chance to make it a little brighter for a few families means the world to me. So please pull out your calendars, pick a date and start planning your own PROJECT SECRET SANTA party. It can be something small after school or a bigger weekend bash. You can even skip the party altogether and just buy a toy from the Toy Drive Amazon Wish List but whatever you do, please take part. Grab the PROJECT SECRET SANTA button, post a link to this post on your FB, share it on Twitter or blog about it. Let's get the word out and make Christmas a happy day for as many kids who really need one as we can. After all, giving back is what this season is all about.
If you'd like to contribute party ideas, recipes or some other sort of guest post during PROJECT SECRET SANTA, we'd love to have you! Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get you on the schedule.