Beginning the Madness

The toy catalogs just arrived today with the Sunday newspaper. Oh, and the ever popular “gift idea” catalogs and ads as well. Coupons were included in some in order to entice one to shop early and get the latest toys first, to avoid the hectic scrambling for last minute gifts later. Wow, must be nice to be a company who can afford the glossy ads each week, the ones that come out on the weekdays and weekends. Amazes me the pressure they try exerting on us, that sense of urgency.

I don’t get suckered into the hype. For one, my guys never wanted the latest and greatest toys that arrived on the market. There were occasional exceptions, maybe a stuffed Pokémon when they first hit the shelves, and yes they loved Thomas the Tank Engine. For the most part, they never really had their hands out, begging for everything they saw.

Don’t get me wrong, part of the problem is the media and all the clever placement of ads in just the right slots. Nick Jr. I’m sure is chock full of them as well as other networks that cater to the kids. Let’s not forget some of the cable networks are just as guilty. Money is money and everyone has to make a living. My main concern is where do you stop? The tree doesn’t have to be suffocated with every wish list item. The stockings don’t need to overflow with goodies either.

Children are visual and marketers know this so they create eye catching commercials just for them. The benefits of such and such toy are explained in a short time frame, considering the attention span of the child, and an impression is made. They know what they are doing and they know that mom, dad, and caregiver will constantly hear about the longed for plaything.

To me the best approach is to have your child and other family members sit down and make their lists. Take from those a few things that you’d like to get them. If one thing is kind of pricey, well, don’t go overboard with the rest. Remember you will have to pay off the credit card bill eventually. Definitely hit the sales and use the coupons, and remember some places will take not only their own store coupons but a matching manufacturer one for the same item so you can save a little extra.

There is no need to get stressed out over the amount of money you spend or whether everything on list is purchased. Children need to learn that getting everything all the time is no fun. Nothing left to wish for and get real, how long do they really play with those toys. Other lessons can be learned this time of year and throughout. Giving to others in need is a great one. Although it shouldn’t take the Holidays to remind us to be kind to one another.  For those of

you who believe, bring out that book that was written many, many years ago, and read about that little guy that was born in the manger along with the animals in Bethlehem. To me, He’s the real reason for the season. The gifts we give each other are a reenactment of the world’s largest birthday party. He’s the gift that keeps on giving. Now that’s what I call a gift!

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