Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson presided over a holiday toy drive at Chicago's Navy Pier Wednesday in honor of Julian King, her 7-year-old nephew that was tragically murdered with her mother and brother in October 2008.
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The Windy City native, 29, said "that's what makes me happy during the holiday season -- just to see someone smile and clap or be excited, that makes my holiday."
Julian's mother Julia Hudson, who is Jennifer sister, said her late son "would have loved it.
"He always had toys. I would come home and see his bike down the street and say, 'Why is your bike down the street?' 'Oh I gave it away.' This would be right up his alley I think," Julia said. "I know he's smiling, something he would have done, exactly."
The Dreamgirls star said the toy drive is "a good way to keep Julian's memory alive by blessing other children through the holiday season. For us, we never had a sad Christmas, so we want to make other children's Christmas be as enjoyable as ours were growing up."
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Jennifer said her infant son Daniel "makes the holidays that much better, too.
"He just brought it back around for us," she said. "It's just super exciting and a really, really good time."
The svelte singer also sang "O Holy Night" at the toy drive, hitting the high notes with Mariah Carey-esque ease.
Hudson's upcoming movie Winnie, a biopic about Nelson Mandela's wife which co-stars Terrence Howard, hits theaters next year.