In Our Own Backyard….What’s on your gift list this year?I know that Christmas isn’t supposed to be all about toys and gifts and conspicuous consumption, but face it – those are sometimes the things that make it most memorable, especially for children.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
I know that Christmas isn’t supposed to be all about toys and gifts and conspicuous consumption, but face it – those are sometimes the things that make it most memorable, especially for children.
When I was little, our extended family used to draw names for gift giving, and one year mine turned out to be the biggest gift under the tree. My name had been drawn by one of my aunts or uncles, and when I sneaked a peek at the huge gift beneath the evergreen boughs, I was astounded when I discovered the tag had my name on it! I can still feel the sense of excitement that charged through my system at that magical moment. It was almost as awe-inspiring as if Santa had left a real live pony in our living room on Christmas Eve (well, almost!). The very large package I received that Christmas turned out to be a giant stuffed dog that I named Floppy. Floppy remained with me for many a year and still held an honored position on my bed all the way through high school. I’m certain my aunt and uncle had no real idea how much that gift would mean to me – it was probably the only thing they could think of that a little girl would like – but it remains one of my favorite Christmas gifts of all time because it was so unexpected and came in such a very big package.
Though a large percentage of today’s holiday gift giving now comes in the form of gift cards, the stores, catalogues, newspapers and websites are packed with holiday merchandise nonetheless. As I browsed through a few of them last week, I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of the more extreme offerings that are designed to pique the gift giver’s imagination and spur him or her into an impulsive purchase that is guaranteed to be memorable – in one way or the other….
Take the child-size, deluxe black Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse, for example. It retails on an upscale website for $399.99 but this week only, you can have it for a mere $299.99 (limit four)! “Your child will be the envy of every kid on the block!” the advertisement enticed. Oh yes, and the suggested target market for this sumptuous little sedan? Ages 3 to 6!
There are many other “sure to please” gifts on the market this year as well. Who wouldn’t want a set of purple pillows in the shape of Justin Bieber’s initials?
Or how about a singing electric toothbrush that comes in both Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga models? For a nice combo pack, you might want to consider a 55-yard reel of the Justin Bieber Waxed Mint Floss…. “a must for keeping your Bieber Smile looking great.”
For the gardener on your list, there’s a 50-foot garden hose that somehow reels up small enough to fit into your pocket.
What child could ever forget receiving the Dr. Dreadful Alien Autopsy Set under the tree? “Create delicious alien eyeballs and lung bugs,” the advertisement hypes. “Bubbling alien guts move on motorized alien stomach. Looks gross, tastes great!” Oh yes, and a refill pack is included – for after the kids have eaten up all of the guts on Christmas morning.
For the more sensual ones on your gift list this year, there’s a wide range of fragrances that can make you feel (and smell) like a whole host of glamorous celebrities – Faith Hill, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Fergie, Derek Jeter (who in the world would want to smell like Derek Jeter?), Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and, of course, our old friend, Justin Bieber!
The family dog will love the latest in pet gifts – green- or red-and-white striped doggy “doody” bags, in your choice of pine or peppermint!
I really missed the boat in snagging the ultimate Christmas gift for my husband and me this year. Our home phone rang one night this week and I answered it to the low, melodious sound of a ship’s whistle on the other end of the line. “This is your ship’s captain speaking!” sang out a recorded voice. “Act now and you can receive two boarding passes to a luxury cruise in Nassau, The Bahamas! Just answer a brief survey and you will be on your way to paradise!” I admit that I did hesitate for a full five seconds before hanging up the phone.
And finally, for the pre-teen on your list, you might want to consider the Justin Bieber Snow Globe, complete with purple base and a photo image of Justin Bieber amidst swirling silver glitter. Or then again, you might want to consider a floppy, stuffed dog in a very large box...