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Monday, December 21 2015 23:34

Rock & Roll Santa Strikes Back! Delivering Cheer in a Chevrolet Sleigh Once More...

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As it was once written: "For centuries, the Legend of Santa Claus has evolved. From Saint Nicholas to Kris Kringle, Father Christmas to simply, Santa - this mysterious giver has taken many forms, appearing throughout the world under countless names to delight and inspire families by doing for others each and every holiday season. For many, the spirit of “Claus” is held within, a shining light that burns with the desire to do for others, particularly for those less fortunate."

When I became "The Rock Father" upon the birth of our first daughter back in 2009, I had no idea where the road of parenthood would lead. Eventually it became clear that my path is branching, and just as becoming a parent led to the birth of this digital magazine - this site led to the opportunity to do more. My job has allowed me to do some good our local community, and last year the opportunity arose to partner with General Motors and OnStar to hit the road to do some "Black Friday Shopping for Good" - the end result of which provided gifts for 37 children across 15 families right here in our township. Regardless of sponsorship, I made a decision that we'd do it again this year - and bigger, if possible. The Rock Daughters and I began amassing gifts in our garage, and as the holiday season began, we started ramping up a bit. Then, I'm happy to say that we partnered with Chevrolet and OnStar once more, and for 2015 #ChevyShopsForGood!

With a 2016 Chevrolet Equinox AWD LTZ as my "Sleigh" for this year (appropriately delivered with a Siren Red Tintcoat exterior and Jet Black interior), our entire family kicked-off the holiday season as we always do, with a visit to the Chicago Toy & Game Fair at Navy Pier. This is our fourth year covering ChiTAG in an official capacity, but it's the first year that Chevrolet was a sponsor. As usual, my social feeds were overflowing with toys and adventure - highlights including our friends from Spin Master, back to ChiTAG for a second year, and this year presented a MASSIVE display that included their life-sized PAW Patroller vehicle from the Nick Jr. hit, PAW Patrol, along with costumed characters and hands-on play with some of the hottest toys of the season.

Chase and Marshall from #PAWPatrol just met #TheRockDaughters at #ChiTAG #ChevyShopsForGood #PAWPatrolTour

A photo posted by James Zahn (@therockfather) on

MECCANO, LITTLE CHARMERS, AIR HOGS (including the fantastic STAR WARS Millennium Falcon), STAR WARS' Legendary Yoda, KINETIC SAND, ZOOMER KITTY... Spin Master has a phenomenal lineup, and the response from the kids spoke volumes.

Razor was back once more, and while they're always a highlight, this year was something really special - I ended up being one of their daily prize winners, an assortment of new Razor products (including the new Razor Jr. Lil' Crazy Cart) arriving here at Rock Father HQ (where they've been stashed until Xmas). As usual, the line to ride some of the latest products from Razor was deep, and I even got in on the action, trying out the Razor DXT Drift Trike.

Big Kids can ride, too! @razorworldwide #ChiTAG

A photo posted by James Zahn (@therockfather) on

Addie's favorite was the Razor DeltaWing, while Finn loved that Lil' Crazy.

#RideRazor - Little Finley was rockin' the Lil' Crazy Cart at#ChiTAG @razorworldwide #ChevyShopsForGood

A video posted by James Zahn (@therockfather) on

Haywire Group scored a big hit by importing the popular Worry Eaters from Europe, while Uncle Milton was showing off their latest STAR WARS Science kits. Aside from their excellent Jedi Holocron (featured in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide), Addie really loved the Jedi Force Levitator (a trick of static electricity). Noochie Golf (reviewed here) was back for a victory lap after debuting at the 2013 ChiTAG, and JENGA GIANT (reviewed here) was stackin' and toppling. Another new exhibitor this time around was Moose Toys, who brought the insanely popular Shopkins to ChiTAG, but it was Qixels and Little Live Pets that scored the interest of The Rock Daughters. And who brought the big yellow truck? TONKA, of course - and their new Climb-Overs are gonna be big next year.

Between #Shopkins, #Qixels and #LittleLivePets, @moose_toys has kids enthralled at #ChiTAG. #ChevyShopsForGood

A photo posted by James Zahn (@therockfather) on

With another busy ChiTAG behind us, the folks from Chevrolet hosted our family and five others for a #ChevyShopsForGood kick-off party at Lucky Strike, after which I laid-out my plans for stretching our dollars into something much bigger.

Shopping at Toys "R" Us
Pictured: The Rock Father and Finley visit Toys "R" Us to purchase toys to donate. At this stop they picked up some Lalaloopsy Dolls, Little Charmers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, PAW Patrol, Matchbox, Dinotrux and more!

With a head-start on our shopping for good, we decided to spread the wealth between retailers a little bit, with the girls and I making some very specific purchases at Target and Toys "R" Us...

Shopping at Target...
Pictured: The Rock Father and Finley visit Target to purchase toys to donate. Some of Hasbro's STAR WARS and MARVEL figures, along with Thomas & Friends, Strawberry Shortcake and more at this stop.

In order to really stretch things, Finn, Addie and myself made a run to The Mattel Toy Store in Wilmot, Wisconsin again, taking advantage of some incredible deals and near wholesale pricing to fill the Equinox to capacity.

Shopping at Mattel
The Rock Daughters and The Rock Father shop for good at The Mattel Toy Store. Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price Imaginext, WWE, Ever After High, Monster High, Disney-Pixar CARS, Fisher-Price Little People, Octonauts and so much more!

Back at home, I had one more trick up my sleeve, and that came thanks to my friends at The Step2 Company in Ohio. Having served as a Brand Ambassador for them over the past few years, I had some credit left over there, and they helped me stretch that as well with a FedEx drop of some great toys for some of the younger kids we're helping out.  Cool sidebar, I was able to pick-out my items while using the Onstar 4G LTE Wi-fi inside the 2016 Chevy Equinox.

Thanks to Step2!

On "Cyber Monday," while Addie was at school, Finn and I headed over to Avon Township to make our delivery.  While we're not sure just how good we did (we'll get numbers in January), I'm confident that through the gracious assistance of our sponsors, and the money that we personally contributed along with our time, the toys we've delivered should bring smiles to even more local children this holiday season.

Delivering Toys!

The way it works is that a case worker identifies the families that are most deserving, and they are invited to come into the office and "shop." This allows these families to have gifts under the tree that can come from Santa Claus, Mom & Dad, or whoever they choose. In the end, the children will never know that they were delivered by a mysterious rock & roller with the help of his wife and daughters. 

Click here to see even more photos!

As we forge ahead into 2016, I'm already wondering how we can do even more... but I want to keep it hyper-local, with all donations staying in this community. I'm plotting...

Thanks to Chevrolet and OnStar for partnering not only with THE ROCK FATHER Magazine, but with other local writers who have all put their own spin on what #ChevyShopsForGood means as they spread Holiday Cheer throughout Chicagoland in unique ways.

The 2016 Chevy Equinox is available now starting at a $22,600 MSRP (as pictured here, $34,755). It's one of General Motors' best-selling vehicles, and we can attest to that - we own a 2012 model as a daily driver here at Rock Father HQ.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

Learn more here

Connect with James on Facebook or Twitter.

www.facebook.com/therockfather