Planning a pre-Christmas toy clear-out? This heartfelt initiative will help avoid a tantrum, and it even involves a trip to the pub

Your kids will want to give their toys away...

Box of toys split layout with Hungry Horse toy donation
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Hungry Horse pub is making it easier for parents to have a pre-Christmas toy clear out and hopes the heartfelt initiative will help kids avoid a tantrum.

The family pub chain is launching its Christmas toy donation initiative for a third consecutive year. As many families prepare to buy the Top Christmas toys for their children, new research shows that more than two million UK children could go without a single present this Christmas.

The scheme, which saw more than 10,000 presents donated in 2022, is designed to provide gifts to those in need amid the rising cost of living while helping parents clean and declutter their homes by putting preloved toys to good use. 

It's hoped that even more gifts will be donated this year, with two-thirds of parents (67%) saying they would be likely to donate their child’s unwanted toys to someone less fortunate.

The Hungry Horse annual ‘Toy Boxing Day’ scheme has launched with donation stations open in each of the 235 Hungry Horse pubs across the UK between 14 November and 18 December 2023 to ensure any donated toys arrive with the children who need them most in time for the big day. 

TV personality and mum-of-two Charlotte Dawson has pledged her support for the campaign. She said: "As a mum, I know how much Christmas means to kids and how excited they get when it’s time to open their presents on the big day. No child should have to go without that moment of joy. That’s why I wholeheartedly support Hungry Horse's 'Toy Boxing Day' scheme and its mission to ensure every child receives a gift this festive season. If you want to make a difference this year, box up some pre-loved toys and get them to your local pub today."

child carrying box of Christmas gift donations

(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to the data, nearly one in five UK parents (18%) know a child who won’t receive a present on 25 December this year, equating to an estimated 2.2 million children in the UK. 

Similarly, a stark 57% of mums, dads, and guardians in the UK say they are worried about being able to afford presents for their kids this Christmas due to the cost of living. As a result, more than four in five (83%) believe that more support is needed to ensure every child gets a present on the big day.

And if you usually struggle to get your kids to part with their toys, why not treat them to a pub dinner afterward?

How to donate a preloved toy

  • Anyone who wants to donate has to head to their local Hungry Horse pub and drop any preloved, new, or unused toys in the signposted area in the pub. 
  • Anything from teddy bears to toy cars, board games to building blocks, and everything in between, we’re grateful for donations of all kinds of good quality new, and nearly new, unused toys. Don’t worry about wrapping them up, that will be taken care of.
  • Pubs will then supply the donated toys to a nominated local charity, which will provide them to those in need within the community during the lead-up to Christmas.

Hungry Horse toy donation

(Image credit: Hungry Horse PR)

The scheme comes at a time of need, with data revealing two-thirds (66%) of parents will be forced to spend less on presents this year due to financial concerns, with almost four in five (79%) identifying Christmas as the most financially challenging time of year. 

Mums, dads, and guardians will spend 13% less on presents for their children this year when compared to 2022, the study found, with total outlay going from an average of £217.50 to £188.85 per household. 

Sarah Williams, senior marketing manager for Hungry Horse, added: “We believe that every child deserves the joy of a Christmas present, and Hungry Horse is proud to continue its 'Toy Boxing Day' scheme for the third year running."

To find your nearest Hungry Horse and make your toy donation, visit Hungry Horse.

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Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is currently a Senior Entertainment Writer for, formerly Senior Entertainment writer for Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life and has more than 16 years of experience in newspapers, magazines and online. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including celebrity births, weddings and reality show line-ups including Strictly, Dancing On Ice and The Great British Bake Off, reporting the the latest news about the Royal kids Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet as well as Family news stories from baby names to store closures and product recall warnings. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.