Bringing the Joy of Animal Crossing to Real Life

I’ve been reflecting on the pandemic and I remember a little project I did in 2020, after Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out (which I was very, very addicted to)! I was going through old toys my children no longer play with. We were trying to narrow down how many we had and make more room to play. They were perfectly good toys, we just have too many. I wanted to donate them, but all the places I found taking donations would only accept new-in-package toys.


I kept thinking about how I wanted to genuinely brighten someone's day. Receiving a donation is nice, and receiving a present can be simply exciting... But how do you anonymously give presents? How do people know that it's ok to actually open them? Well they pull it off in Animal Crossing by sending presents over with a balloon! I had the idea to put together surprise boxes that looked like the presents in Animal Crossing! I cleaned the toys and filled white boxes with them, wrapped a red bow around them, and attached balloons to the top of each one! I was honestly thrilled with how cute they looked!


I debated on leaving them on porches, or even in a park, but I kept thinking people would either be scared to open them (Random package on your doorstep? Yikes!) or not know that they were supposed to take them. Finally I decided to set them next to the Little Free Libraries and Little Free Pantries around town, to try to make it obvious that they were ok for anyone to take. It worked, as they seemed to disappear quickly each time!


It was kind of a wild idea, and I had a lot of fun doing it. I really hope it made at least one person's day. I wonder if we could get this sort of thing to catch on. Check the map for your local Little Free Libraries and Little Free Pantries. It could also be done with Geocaching! What creative ways can you find to spread joy?

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