Monday, November 29, 2010

Too Many Toys!

 


 
Last weekend I took the kids to Toys R Us so they could make their wish lists for Santa.  And with those lists in hand, I spent my Black Friday playing Santa online.  I'm proud to say that my kids will be very pleased come Christmas morning. 
 
But as excited as I am to see the excitement on children's faces, I can't help but wonder how much these toys are really going to be played with.  You see, I keep meticulous records.  I write down everything Santa brings each year as well as how much it cost Santa to produce them.  Looking back at last year's gifts, I realize my children are hardly, if ever, still playing with those toys.  Once coveted toys quickly became nothing but clutter.
 
The Diego train track I bought for Little C last year takes up prime real estate in her room when assembled, and even when it's not assembled, it fails to fit nicely into the storage it came with.  She played with it a handful of times, and it is now in my "Garage Sale" tub in the attic.  Huge Transformers Big C swore he couldn't live without now collect dust in his closet.  Despite this, I still spent my Black Friday buying Little C a collection of My Littlest Pet Shops that I will likely step on whenever I walk into her room and Big C a Bakugan character that comes with a million tiny pieces that I'll likely find hidden under his bed.
 
To add insult to injury, popular toys now require technology.  Big C has a Tag Reader, which I think is a fantastic concept.  A large pen reads books, initiates text-related games, animates illustrations, and even tracks your child's usage.  However, all of this requires internet downloads and yet another USB cord added to all the other electronic cords entangled in a drawer in my family room.  And sadly, after about a year of buying books exclusive to that system, downloading them to the reader, and replacing countless batteries, the Tag Reader now sits untouched on his bookshelf.  But despite this, I somehow found myself purchasing a Tag Junior Reader for Little C, for which that process will soon begin all over again.
 
Children's toys these days make my head spin.  Should I be buying Little C that Tag Reader or another electronic educational system?  Should I feel guilty for not buying Big C that Nintendo DS that all his friends have or be proud that I bought him a Star Wars Science Kit with live creatures instead?  Should I buy the kids a new game for the Wii we spent so much money on but rarely use or should I continue to buy them gifts like Play Doh and Lego sets that require active imaginations instead of a television? 
 
I know I shouldn't stress too much now over my children's Christmas gifts because I know that 1 day soon they'll be asking for cell phones and iPads and whatever gadget is all the rage at that second.  One day soon I'll be monitoring their text messages and apps instead of their Tag Reader progress and their science projects. 
 
So for now, I'll continue to buy my kids all those toys that too soon end up in my garage sale pile.  I'll embrace the clutter of Dora Play Doh sets and intricate Lego contraptions.  I'll introduce Little C to her 1st USB cord and internet download.  I'll help Big C with his science experiments and feed his sea creatures long after he's lost interest.  But this all means something a little bit more.  It means I can still eavesdrop on Little C playing Mommy with those Littlest Pet Shops and Big C having battles with his Bakugans.  It means I can encourage Little C's desired independence with her Tag Reader and Big C's wish for more one-on-one time with me through the Star Wars Science Kit. 
 
And when they're tired of that, I'll throw them on their new Tinkerbell scooter and big boy bike to get some fresh air and exercise!
 
What is Santa bringing your kids for Christmas this year?
 
 



7 comments:

  1. We are keeping the holidays low key this year. Santa is bringing each of our girls two gifts. Santa is giving Lillie 1 butterfly pillow making kit and 1 paint your own mirror jewelry box. Santa is bringing Ivy a sponge painting kit and a bug viewer. And Santa is bringing Holli a Light Up Stacker toy and a baby's learning laptop. They have each (minus Holli since she's too young) gone through their toys and picked which they wanted to donate and which they wanted to keep. Between all three there are now two trash bags of toys that will be getting donated to goodwill.

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  2. We got the tag reader junior for my 3 year old last year....it took her about six months, but she adores that thing. We've got three books and she's sight learned some of the words in them just from endless repetition.

    I am SO with you on this post, though..the commercials are pretty cool for toys these days and all the talk at school about cool toys has it's influence as well...but like you, lots of things the kids have gotten sit unused after a few weeks.

    My inlaws were here for Thanksgiving and got the kids an art game for the Wii that's pretty doggone cool, but then again, I like the Wii games that force physical movement. I'm hoping Santa will drop the Zumba for Wii in my stocking...LOL!

    Good luck!

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  3. oh boy, this post is too real. we are struggling this year too. Our problem is that we always feel like we have to outdo the previous year. That puts us in a nasty situation now that we are on our 14th Christmas. Last year we spent more on Christmas than we did on both mortgages. At some point we are going to have to slow down and have a small Christmas; I think this may have to be that year. We just can't afford all the electronic gadgets these kids want. Seriously, they want 75% of Best Buy's inventory.

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  4. You are organized!! I always feel like I over spend, and we certainly have more stuff than we need or use...on that note - I've been wondering about the tag reader. Now that I know you like it, I may have to add it to our list. Sigh...;).

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  5. We are having a small Christmas. The kids are only 21 months and 5, but the 5 year old doesn't play with very many of his toys. I spent approximately $150 on both of them. I know he will and won't play with so he is only getting some of what he asked for. Our family will also buy them way too much stuff. He will get a Wii game, but it will be game that we can all play together and enjoy. He likes to play computer games, but I'd much rather him go outside and play. I'm all for imagination.

    I felt kinda bad when I bought everything because there wasn't that much in the cart. I called DH and he told me it was fine, they don't need it, and why waste the money?

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  6. The MAIN GIFT we're getting them is an Xbox 360 with Kinect. Some friends of ours have the Wii and the "Just Dance" game. My kids and I have fell in love with it. However, we'd rather not have to hold a controller in-hand.

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  7. Our two year old, Linden, will be getting his first pair of hockey skates and a basketball hoop (just a toddler-sized one). Lots of stocking stuffers and a few smaller things but with all the packing and moving we do, we try to keep it simple!

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