One of my favorite Austin holiday traditions, The Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade, comes to town this Saturday.
I’m a sucker for most any parade, but this one has a unique and wonderful twist. At the Chuy’s parade, children don’t get toys and trinkets, they give them.
Families are encouraged to bring toys to donate to Operation Blue Santa, a local non-profit that provides gifts and a holiday meal for over 3,800 families in the Austin community.
Operation Blue Santa distributes the toys in time for the holidays, bringing Christmas magic to children that otherwise might not receive any gifts.
This year marks the 28th annual parade. The first one started in 1989 — small but with great vision — and it has grown into the spectacular operation it is today.
These days you’ll see balloon floats, marching bands, cool cars, characters such as Elmo, Rudolph, Disney Princesses, Superheros and even Elvis! And, of course, Santa Claus himself.
How it Works
The parade starts at the State Capitol at 11am and moves south on Congress to Cesar Chavez, ending just north of the bridge. At a certain time the parade stops and “Santa’s helpers” collect the toys and fill the backs of designated trucks.
Children carrying dolls, trucks, legos, games, balls, teddy bears, etc. rush to donate their new toys. It’s a heartwarming sight. I can’t think of a better way to get in the holiday spirit than watching children give to other children.
I love the concept of this parade. It provides a great conversation starter and lets kids experience the joy of giving from an early age. It’s never too early to teach children about the true holiday spirit.
And quite honestly, watching the kids proudly hand over toys (some paid for with their own allowance) … it’s a good reminder for us adults, too.
Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade
Saturday, November 26, 2016
11am (usually lasts 1 – 1 ½ hours)
Starts at the State Capitol (11th and Congress) and moves south along Congress Avenue