We’re on our way to the grocery store, and the boys look serious in the back seat. They’ve been considering their letters to Santa for days, and the importance of such a task has trickled into every spare conversation.
“For Christmas, I want Legos. And a robot that does puzzles. And a kitty that’s bwoo…” O says.
“Dey don’t make blue kitties,” H says with a hint of condescension. “Christmas isn’t about presents anyway. It’s about family and spending time to-gever and getting pictures with Santa. Right, Mama?”
“Well, you’re right, but it’s also a Holy day.”
H looks at O and continues. “Yes, that’s right. Because Jesus died on Christmas.”
“Close,” I say. “Christmas is his birthday.”
“And if we’re good,” O says, “We’ll be invited to his birfday party.”
Clearly, we need to go to church more often.
This year, we’re scaling back on gift buying. We’ve reached maximum toy capacity, and it’s time for that madness to stop. My kiddos are old enough to start to learn how to be satisfied, to know when enough is enough, and to focus more on the time we’re spending together than on gift tags and brightly wrapped boxes.
That’s my official statement.
But my unofficial statement is this: Today’s toys drive me crazy. They’re big and shiny and some of them talk, and that kind of freaks me out. The dolls look like women of ill repute, and the action figures come with bazookas. What happened to Lincoln logs? I used to play with mine for hours! And now a 2010 version sits in a lonely corner of the play room; I look at it longingly as the boys attach Batman grappling hooks to my belt loops.
(Even Thomas the Tank Engine runs on batteries now. And he’s plastic instead of his traditional wood. Such sacrilege. What is this world coming to?)
I must counteract the stupidity of today’s toys by asking Santa to bring us back to the basics. I’ve even pointed him to the Retro Toy Mother Lode, something I found quite by accident in the middle aisles of our local World Market. Here’s how I’ve asked Santa to fill the boys’ stockings this year:
…And finger puppets!
Remember these? Throw a Slinky, some Silly Putty and a decoder ring into the mix, and you have yourself a feast of imaginative play!
I already know what will happen. The boys will overlook these throwbacks for some of the glitzier things they’ll be getting this year. Or they’ll pull item after item out of their stockings in search of the latest Transformers and Bakugans.
Maybe that’s a strategic move. Because as they’re pretending to blow things up, and all the other things little boys tend to do, I’ll be kickin’ it old school on the couch, playing Deck the Halls on a slide whistle.
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