When I was a kid it seemed like the days leading up to Christmas were the longest of my life. We began to think seriously about presents the last week of November. Thanksgiving was over, hunting season was done and now we could focus on the Sears catalog, the “Wish Book” as my Mom called it.
Back then TV wasn’t the main source of what a kid wanted for Christmas. It was mostly in the pages of that thick book with a whole section devoted to toys. Of course you had to skip over the girly stuff like dolls and pretend ovens but then you had page after page of cool guy toys like bows and arrows and bicycles and slot car racing sets.
I know I wanted a microscope one year in the worst way. Why I am not sure. I know now that I was never equipped to be a scientist or doctor but that was the big item.
Early in December the routine was: you would begin leaving the Wish Book around the house in strategic locations, open to the page with the stuff you wanted on it. It was considered ok to dog ear those pages that had other choices on them, but the idea was to get the main object of desire in front of the parent units.
As often as possible.
In some cases this actually worked. I did get the microscope! More often you got socks and underwear and a toy your parents could afford.
Nowadays I feel sorry both for the kids and the parents. First of all the season has relentlessly been extended by greedy merchants. First off it began to be the week or so before Thanksgiving. Then slowly the Christmas music and the decorations began sprouting like mushrooms right after Halloween.
Now, my friends it is…now.
I have seen a Christmas tree in a local fast food restaurant for weeks now and even though you just about have to give me anesthesia to get me in a mall I have seen toys and decorations in the K-mart.
I feel for the kids who are bombarded with relentless ads on the TV and with aisles of enticing toys every time they go in a store. The words delayed gratification mean less than nothing to a nine year old.
I feel also for the parents who now have to put with more than two months of ceaseless whining.
Myself, my kids are not only grown up and moved out but I couldn’t even begin to guess what toy they would like.
A gift certificate and some folding green and that pretty much does it.
It’s one of the few times I feel blessed to be old.