Toys for Tots and also Toys for Teens: The perfect gift for (you know who).

Looking for a unique gift for your boss this holiday season? It’s never too soon to start thinking about it, right? Because otherwise, it’s a last minute hassle passing around envelopes trying to get money from staff and then another hassle to figure out what to buy with whatever mystery sum you collect.

I have the answer right now as to what you should buy, and all it will cost staff is four hours each. We can seal the deal today, too. How’s that?

Here’s the gift idea:

  • Have staff pair up, buddy style, and sign up for volunteer work (see below, as I have the perfect solution for that!)
  • Have them take a camera along and photograph each other doing it.
  • Afterward, have each person who volunteered write a short paragraph about what the experience meant to them.
  • Get a note from the agency behind the volunteer request (for example, from Major Moore, at the Salvation Army) — have it be a personal message for your boss, saying how much the volunteer time meant to the agency, and noting it was given in the name of the boss.
  • Find that crafty person on staff to turn the introductory note, photos and staff paragraphs into a holiday scrapbook that your boss can keep — and believe me, they will always keep it dear to their heart.

We did this for Bill Haight once, and everyone on staff got into it and felt like they really made a contribution, as their written paragraphs (e-mailed to me, so I only had to cut and paste them into the scrapbook) testified to. Most of us chose bell ringing in two-hour shifts for the Salvation Army. It was a little bit of a scramble, to collect all 23 stories and make the book, but we brought it in on deadline, and guess what? He got misty-eyed when we presented the book to him, and everyone felt like they got the gift, rather than gave it away. It was cool!

Now here’s how I can help you further with this. You need a volunteer activity you can finish and photograph and coordinate before the holiday — and I have the perfect opportunity.

Have a morning or afternoon to volunteer to help a child in November? Why not do it as a departmental group? I can help you do this easily! I’m putting the call out right now for four-hour shifts, either mornings or afternoons, to do all sorts of things to assist with the Christmas "Toys for Kids" programs. A desire to help is the most compelling requirement — and don’t most of us want to help disadvantaged children and families access community resources?

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