Darren Criss sings at a Toys for Tots benefit. (Craig Barritt/ Getty Images)
"Glee" star Darren Criss works at a frenzied pace, but he was insistent that he make room in his schedule for one very special NYC gig last Sunday. For the third year in a row, the 25-year-old performed Christmas songs at a show benefitting Toys for Tots, a program that makes sure less fortunate children have a gift to open this holiday season. "I just flew in like maybe two, three hours ago, and I have to leave in probably less than an hour to get back to L.A.," Criss told omg! after the show. "It's really important to me that I can be a part of it."
The stylish star hits the red carpet. (David Livingston/Getty Images)
Criss, who has been involved in musical theater since he was a kid and still performs as a singer-songwriter, started the tradition of helping Toys for Tots in 2010, simply by asking fans to bring a toy to his show. This year, his appearance was in conjunction with eBay, who's agreed to match every toy donation made to the program through the website for the rest of December. People can go the website or use their smartphones to select a gift for a child in need.
The good cause is a perfect fit for Criss, since he loves to perform anyway. He even plans to release a full album of non-"Glee" music ... eventually. "I'm always writing something and recording, but hopefully whenever we do come out with something it'll be something I'm proud of," Criss said, adding that he'll spend Christmas with family in his hometown of San Francisco. "It's tough when you're a musician and you like to be a big part of your projects, because unfortunately, I can't just go in and sing some songs that other people wrote. I have to be involved in the writing process and the producing process and the arranging, so it takes a bit of time. Whenever I do put out an album, it won't be half-assed."
Criss is just as serious about his music as he is about his style. When asked to describe his fashion philosophy, he quickly offered up his strategy: "My ideology goes for everything that you do in life: know what you can pull off and what you can't pull off. As soon as you can narrow what you can't do, what works for you will be more clear and then you can be unique and individual with that," Criss explained. "But I'm a big believer in everything that you do being slightly left of center, like left enough to where you're unique and individual but close enough to center to where you're accessible and non-alienating."
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