By Christie D'Zurilla
3:18 PM CST, November 22, 2013
Ellen DeGeneres and a few good men (and kids) braved whipping winds, frequently departing aircraft and the threat of rain Friday at Van Nuys Airport to symbolically load up a plane and kick off a Toys for Tots campaign partnered with Duracell, aiming to see as many as to 1 million batteries donated to needy kids this holiday season.
"With Christmas, as you get older, it's about the joy you get from giving and seeing the reaction of the other person," she said Friday amid the volunteer corps of Marines and children. DeGeneres has also been enjoying gifting on her show, "seeing my audience being so excited and happy."
This holiday, she said, she and wife Portia DeGeneres are looking forward to getting together with family and seeing the faces of their nieces light up. "They're 2 and 4," she said. "They're at the ages where they actually know there's something in the boxes for them."
But first, there's Thanksgiving next week, which will see the vegan couple hanging out with friends and having "everything in the world except the turkey — amazing, delicious food."
Then after the holidays it's nose to the grindstone on her Oscar hosting duties, which have been on her radar "since the first phone call" about the gig. Come Jan. 16, when the nominations are announced, she'll be able to move away from the current "broad strokes" of comedy and focus in on specifics.
"I'm hoping to have a whole lot of fun for the people in the building, and the people outside the building ... ," DeGeneres said about her Oscars performance. "I don't want it to be uptight."
In the Duracell Power a Smile effort, each purchase of an eligible battery pack will, starting Friday, trigger a battery donation to Toys for Tots, which itself is powered by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" has helped raise $10 million worth of donations to Toys for Tots over the run of the show, the host said.
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