Nothing has greater potential for joy than a child sitting in front of a Target toy catalog armed only with a red Sharpie and dreams of Christmas presents dancing through her imagination.
With the preamble thoroughly digested, it’s time to get down to business. For parents, that means sweating out credit card statements, cutting out nonessentials like toilet paper and meat and preparing those apologetic conversations with the bill collectors that go something like, “Please don’t cut off my water this month … I know we’re behind but my kid just had to have that 50-inch LED flat-screen to better watch SpongeBob Square Pants — see, um, near-sighted, or far-sighted, whichever one means you can’t see things close up. And besides, my New Year’s resolution is to pay all my bills on time, starting with you.”
Now that Thanksgiving has been packed away like so much leftover turkey and orange Jell-O, Christmas is just around the corner.
We’re already planning to go pick out the perfect tree (paying the equivalent of “log cabin in the woods”). Any morning now that creepy Elf on a Shelf (ours is named Dio) will emerge from his hiding place in the attic and begin committing all manner of hijinks in the name of Christmas magic.
Jellybean, that 4-year-old bundle of perpetual precociousness, is making an epic wish list that has gone beyond catalogs to include virtually every commercial that airs during episodes of “Phineas and Ferb” or “Fanboy and Chum-Chum.”
While trying to dress for work I repeatedly hear “Dad-EEEE!” shouted through a mouthful of chocolate Lucky Charms. “Look at this!” I run in to see her pointing at a commercial for Bratzilla dolls or Ballet Dora the Explorer.
Jellybean has arrived at what my grandmother used to call “wanting the wants.” There’s not a single toy, book, game, cartoon princess-inspired piece of clothing, bedding, glassware or action figure that she doesn’t plead for. She needs these things about as much as a drowning man needs a cinder block.
Thankfully, Jellybean takes “no” very well and rarely throws a fit. Instead, we tell her that “maybe Santa will bring it” before she gives it a Kissing Hand and “hides” it in the back of the rack as if it were a precious stolen gem she will one day return to claim when the heat has died down.
But now all those hollow promises have come to call. See, Jellybean forgets nothing, and she’ll be expecting a mighty haul on Christmas morning.
I suggest Santa Claus visit Free Credit Score to make sure his Visa can handle the weight of this child’s wishes.
I’m sorry to say her nice days far outweigh her naughty. Oh, and did I mention that her big sister, The Diva, is turning 16 just a few weeks before Christmas and is secretly hoping for something with power steering and in-dash GPS under the tree (and we’re hoping to put a bright red bow on the Civic with its 100,000-plus miles)?
Of course, Christmas isn’t about getting stuff. It’s about family and the simple joy of sharing time. But it’s also about the magic of childhood, when all the world’s promises are waiting in a box wrapped with colorful paper.
That kind of excitement — no matter what’s in the box — is what toy catalogs are truly selling, and I’ll go broke with a smile on my face trying to capture it.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.