Here at Rainy City Kids we were trying to think of ways to round out our giving week with something that involved our favourite thing – mince pies. Just kidding it is of course doing something fun with our children. We were pretty pleased to come across an event that is definitely high on the family fun factor and more importantly, delivers a great message about giving.
The charity Bearly Loved have teamed up with Two by Two to Sale Library for a festive extravaganza which encourages children to part with (some of) their soft toys in order to send them to kids who need their own teddies to love (are you welling up yet?).
Bearly Loved was founded in 2013 by Andrea Lea, after recognising how extremely comforting a teddy bear had been for her own daughter during a very difficult start to life. The charity sends donated teddies to children who have very little of their own in order for them to have a special friend (seriously I’ve pretty much gone now).
And while of course we think its brilliant for those children who receive the teddies of course, we especially like the effects it has on the children who give them and the connection they feel with kids less fortunate than themselves. The children are encouraged to cuddle their bears before they send them off on their adventure so that they will be full of love for their new owners (crying and typing here people, crying and typing).
It’s not necessarily that easy to part with your toys, even if you haven’t played with them yourself for ages (I mean that’s how I feel about shoes I haven’t worn forever so imagine how children feel about teddies). What makes it special (and a little bit easier to give them up) is the sense of ritual and occasion that creating the passport and sending the bears off to their new homes entails.
All you have to do is ask your child to pick out a teddy he or she no longer plays with (the bottom of the toy box is a good bet) and give it a wash before the event. The charity are gently suggesting a £3 donation to cover the costs of storing and transporting the toys, but I am assured that anyone who forgets their pennies will not be turned away, though it is such a sweet idea that I for one will be dropping a few extra coins in the box.
To make the occasion Two by Two will hold a festive craft activity of decorating Bear Tree decorations and Bear Masks, plus there will be mulled wine, festive cakes, singing, dancing and bell ringing. Plus some guy called Santa will be holding court in the Lapland Photo Booth from 4pm.
Zoe from Two by Two told me, “Basically we very much want to encourage people to think about how much love and comfort is fundamentally important for children – and how much we take it for granted. It is important we recognise that some children are not lucky enough to have teddies or family to hug and comfort them. Christmas is such an exciting time for children, but also a time when we must remember others.” What a way to really capture the spirit of Christmas. Now I really have to go and find a tissue. And a mince pie.
Bear for a Bear Christmas Extravaganza is at Sale Library, Saturday 25 November 10.30-5.30pm. For more ideas from our giving week, check out this wonderful charity, this amazing lady and a list of alternative ways to spread the spirit of Christmas. Happy giving everyone x
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As always, if something has taken your fancy, we highly recommend checking on the links provided to make sure a session hasn’t been moved or cancelled before you travel.