Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What are you getting your kids for whatever absurdly commercialized "Religious" holiday you are celebrating this year?

Ho Ho Ho

Yay!! My long awaited Scrooge post!  You knew it was coming, didn't the five of you?

Ahh, this year I felt my first REAL bitter taste of the commercialized nonsense of the Holidays.  Oh. Man.  With a three year old who is preoccupied with getting "things", as in, it's hard, I mean, really hard, to go to places like Target without a Level 6 meltdown over some plastic nonsense that he wants and that I won't buy.  I realize this is a huge parental failing on my part, combined with the natural inclinations of a three year old, so I'm not trying to suggest I have no idea why this happens.

Anyway... Christmas.  Since November 1st, my son has been proclaiming a deep and profound desire for a "Storm Trooper" and "Scary Guy".  (Read: Captain Rex and General Grievous from Star Wars).  Yeah yeah kid, I get it, you want this.  Well, literally, for almost two months, he would chirp about these two annoyingly plastic and electronic noisemaking, likely will break within four minutes pieces of crap.

But I bought them.

Yes.  "Scary Guy" entered our family home today.  I'm such an awesome mom.  I mean, I figure that if the two things he asks for of all the things he could possibly want, that he's been harping about for the last six weeks were not delivered... then there might be hell to pay.

Let's take a trip down memory lane and let me share with you the mother I had planned on being prior to the birth of the fetus that would become my current three year old son.  We would have:

-Lots and lots of books.  (yes, we have a virtual Barnes and Noble, so I'm kind of okay with our books)
-No plastic.  ( HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH!!! - um, yeah, that died as soon as little baby Ronan was          
SO over the Haba rattles)
-No Happy Meal toys (see above).
-A wonderful Waldorf inspired abode.

Okay, that didn't work out as planned.  Actually, his first birthday was when the shit really entered our lives.  Up until then, he was pretty content with the little basket of toys he had that we kept in his room of our tiny shoebox condo.  His first birthday party, while a modest affair (as I tend to like birthday parties to be) brought in our first taste of the blinky, battery powered, action packed, brightly colored, toys that I vowed we'd never buy, or own.

Whatever.  Okay.  Fine.

Now, we live in a pretty huge house with a play room that is FILLED TO THE GILLS with plastic crap manufactured in ever major Asian country, and every time I see "made in China" written on the back of some action figure's ass, I wonder to myself, "what must the person who put this together think of us and our tastes in toys?"  Then I think about Japan and the weird shit they like and I feel a lot better about it.  (Hello Kitty and her friends notwithstanding)  But I digress.  (as usual)

This Christmas, my husband and I decided that we were going to tone it down and keep it natural - excluding "Storm Trooper" and "Scary Guy" of course.  We wanted to keep the massive paper ripping frenzy and overloaded get get get to a minimum.  I will have to say, I'm pretty sure I've failed miserably. Oh yes, we did get the uber-pricey heirloom quality Waldorf inspired Angels and Elves use-your-own-imagination-dollhouse and a few rooms of unpainted furniture and an "ethnically ambiguous" family of four (hey, we're liberals yo!).  This was my big exciting idea for getting the children something beautiful and sturdy that would inspire their imaginations.  Yay yay yay!  I'm so crunchy!

Then, I freaking wander into Toys R' Us, and walk out with about half a dozen other plasticy pieces of crap that a) my children don't need and b) they will likely forget about in four seconds after ripping off the carefully applied paper.

I am a hypocrite.  I accept this.

So.  I've bared my soul.  Once again I am disappointed in my parenting, falling prey to the siren song of the consumerism driven culture in which I live.  I bought my kids a lot of useless crap (and a few beautiful things, which I guarantee WILL be the things that they enjoy a lot longer than batter operated plastic pieces of junk) for Christmas and, to be quite honest, I will enjoy watching them open them and be thrilled - even for those few fleeting days or so- with their gets.

My idealistic mind hopes that I will stick to my New Year's resolution and clean out the play room, donate what isn't being played with, streamline the toy selection to things that are useful, creative, and beautiful (and of course, keeping the things that they love, regardless of how I feel about them - I'm not a total jerk) and pay better attention to what enters the house in the future.

If you want to read the article that inspired this guilt ridden tirade, check it HERE.


Anonymous said...

Hey Catherine- the entire time I was reading your blog, I was thinking, 'get out of my head' because I feel the same way! I am trying to at least monitor new toys for Marin with less plastic (like this- )

don't worry- you're not alone!


Jon said...

Good luck. You're just getting to the point where advertising will drive your children's tastes in ways your parents never had to deal with. Fortunately, you are proof that not even consumerism can ruin a great kid and that quality parenting is not about what you get or don't get. It's simply showing your kids that you love them.

Obbie said...

2-Star War Figures and a Waldorf inspired creative all wood play station seems to be a most civilized approach to our society's Chirstmas Commercial Fury.