Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tis Better to Give...But What?

Contrary to my previous post, I am not a Grinch. I admit that the secular commercialism of Christmas bothers me more this year, but I love Christmas and I love giving gifts. When it comes to buying gifts for my youngest son, however, I am often stumped; and not just for Christmas, but also for his birthday. My oldest son is fairly easy to shop for: video games, Legos, any Nerf artillery-the usual stuff. My youngest, son, well...not so easy.

It's very difficult to articulate my dilemma without sounding like I'm whining. (Yes, I would like some cheese with that whine, thanks for asking. I wouldn't mind some wine with my whine either.) I'm filled with a tearful sense of dread as I look at all of the toys on the shelves and think, “What do I get an 8 year-old who is not really 8?” My second thought is, “No clue.” The obvious music toys? Check. Preschool toys? Check. Preschool musical toys? Got those. It's getting to the point that as I look at the preschool toys I realize that there is nothing really new. How many original toy pianos, toy cell phones, blinking doodads, and talking whatzits can there be? It's nice that Toys R Us puts out a toy guide for special needs children and I say “Bravo” for their effort. However, it's still difficult for me to shop for him and I think a large part of my problem is that I'm subconsciously comparing him to typical 8 year-olds. I have a niece and a nephew who are also 8, and shopping for them is a totally different experience...let's just say that I'm not in the preschool toys section.

In years past I would take him to the toy stores in mid-November and let him explore the toy shelves to see what he would play with. Whatever held his attention is what I would buy. This year was no exception. Stinky the Garbage Truck was a big hit this year. He stood in front of the display for almost 15 minutes pushing the buttons that would make Stinky talk as well as do various other bodily function noises. He laughed the entire time. At $59.99, the cost for Stinky was a little out of reach this year; even when the store slashed the price to $49.99, I couldn't justify it. So, I trolled Amazon and found a smaller version of Stinky: it has the same voice as the larger version but none of the robotic features. Since my son also likes to play with daddy's bass, we decided to get him one of the hottest toys this year: a Paper Jamz guitar...with the amp accessory. My only fear is that he likes to chew paper so I'm hoping he will have more fun making music with it than eating it. I foresee alot of music being made on Christmas Day.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:35)

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