"That's what makes me happy during the holiday season, just to see someone smile and clap or [be] excited that makes my holiday," the Oscar-winning actress and singer Hudson said.
Hudson held a toy drive at Navy Pier Wednesday in memory of her nephew Julian King, who was murdered in 2008. Hudson's mother and brother were also murdered.
Hudson and her sister, Julia, said they wanted something positive to come from the family's tragedy. Julia, who is Julian's mother, is in charge of picking the toys for the kids.
"Julian 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. I know he's smiling, something he would have done, exactly," Julia Hudson said.
"It's a good way to keep his 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," Jennifer Hudson said.
"We're sharing. That's what we were taught to do -- to share, to love. So we're just spreading the love," Julia Hudson said.
The Hudson sisters helped hand out toys with other local celebrities.
Jennifer Hudson says among her many gifts this year is her son, who was especially peaceful through Wednesday's event.
"He makes it that much better, too. He just brought it back around for us. It's just super exciting and a really, really good time," Jennifer Hudson said.
While the kids may delight in their new toys, most of the adults were glad to hear Hudson share her favorite Christmas song, "O Holy Night."