In this Sunday's no less than twelve separate ad fliers, there were pictured no less than a gazillion "toys" every child from birth to manhood MUST HAVE this holiday. I promised myself I wouldn't name specific items for rebuke; to do so, in my humble opinion, would exclude all the others that certainly needed to be bad-mouthed as well.
So, although I'll be speaking in generalities, I think you'll get my drift. Prices, oh, yes, let's definitely start there. In the birth to pre-school sections, I couldn't find a toy for less than $9.99. Of course the very few at that low price were nothing a young child could possibly be hoping for under their family's beautifully lit fir tree this year.
The $20. to $50 range offered toys that were somewhat more substantial in make and size, but again they were things that wouldn't keep a child's attention for very long. It was only when the prices climbed to $100.00 and way beyond did the toys have some educational and/or developmentally-appropriate and creative value. Perhaps the one toy youngsters would love to see on Christmas morning would be a motorized riding vehicle. I've seen children in my neighborhood dashing around their driveways in these, using their imaginations to role-play, invent different life scenarios, and truly invest a lot of time actually utilizing them. But, at the cost of anywhere from $199.99 to a whopping $499 for these presents, I doubt most "Santas" could deliver. Please don't think I'm advocating for parents to purchase such an item because I'm certainly not. I'm simply citing the experience I've had observing children at play where motorized vehicles were used.
For children six to sixty-six the "toys," although strangely similar for those of the younger set, skyrocketed in price. If you have more than one child, a hefty loan would be in order to obtain only the bare essentials to satisfy a brood of two or three.
My biggest gripe for the offering in this age category was the kind of toys for sale. Monstrous creatures whose only intent is to ravage the "good guys," weapons such as guns, swords, laser beams, and the like are more than plentiful, and the gaming systems selling for an all-time outrageous price, present kids with thousands of ways to annihilate and mane while having a blast! Never mind, the fact that while sitting for countless hours engaging in these horrid activities, our young people are getting zero exercise and growing fatter by the minute.
Don't get me wrong. I love the holidays and am guilty of giving probably more to my grandchildren than they truly need. But, when I remember myself as a child and the gifts that made me happy, I don't want to short change the ones I hold dearest to my heart. The presents I received then almost always involved encouraging creativity, skills development, and physicality. They were few in number but I held each in great esteem and spent many hours using them. They didn't cost an arm and a leg but I valued them as if they did.
For my own grandchildren, under my beautifully lit fir tree this year, will be gifts similar to the ones I received at least in number, intent, and cost. They deserve nothing less. How about your children?
Think before you fall victim to popular acclaim, before you believe the hype found in those ad fliers, before you buy gifts your children will discard in no time at all even though they just "had" to have them!