So, toys are hard to come by at Christmas. Who would have thought?
Before you have children – and before you have children who can talk – you are vaguely aware that every year, parents are out there going to extreme lengths to get their kids this year’s It Toy for Christmas.
But before you find yourself scouring ransacked toyshop shelves and juggling the relative merits of time spent driving vs delivery fees, you have no idea of how all-consuming this quest can become.
You have no idea that yes, the toy shop is FULL of toys. But those toys are pointless. Those toys are the ones that no-one wants.
This year, I have learned a valuable lesson.
My son wants a dinosaur for Christmas. My son also wants a dinosaur with him when he brushes his teeth, when he goes to bed, when he eats his breakfast, when he’s on the toilet. My son, like 98% of little boys under the age of 10, LOVES dinosaurs.
But for Christmas, he wants a very specific dinosaur. It’s Indominus Rex, from Jurassic World, and he wants the one that comes with the little plastic ball and the little man. This is so he can endlessly reenact the giant scary dinosaur smashing into the plastic ball and devouring the little man*.
Here it is:
He has been dreaming about this, talking about it and telling me about it ad nauseum, for months. And this is my 3-and-a-half year old, who barely talks about anything to anyone.
How does he know such a thing exists? Because on various visits to various shops over the year, to pick up last-minute birthday presents for friends and relatives and daycare classmates, he has seen this toy in a box. And he fell in love with it.
I have seen it, too. And I have told him, “Maybe Santa will bring you that, if you are good.” I have vaguely thought, “I’ll get that, next time I’m here.”
Guess what? That toy, that’s been blinking at me with its beady reptilian eye from every toyshop I’ve entered over the last three months, is no longer on shelves.
It’s not in any one of the six bricks-and-mortar toy shops that I have scoured in the past week. It’s THIS ITEM IS OUT OF STOCK or M.I.A on every toystore website I have been to.
The Indominus Rex has legged it. Sure, there’s another version. And it’s bigger, and it’s more expensive, but that’s not The Thing. The Thing is, my boy wants to make the dinosaur eat the little man out of the little ball. That is what he wants.
We can all go a little crazy like Arnie shopping for Christmas gifts. Post continues after video.
And, despite knowing that the real meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with plastic presents that will only one day become landfill, despite knowing that I have been fully sucked into the consumerist conspiracy of panic-buying, despite knowing that the toy will be probably all over the shelves again by the end of January. Despite knowing that books are a way more worthy option and that I have been sucked into the marketing campaign of a giant blockbuster movie? Despite knowing all that in my better nature, I WANT HIM TO HAVE THE TOY.
I want to see my boy’s little face when he pulls off the wrapper and realises he’s got exactly what he wanted for Christmas. Even if he decides, five minutes later, that he wanted something different. I want to watch him believe that Santa was listening when, just last night, as I bit my nails to the quick, he said to me “When Santa brings me my Indominus-rex-with-the-ball-and-the-little-black-man,” which he says in a tumbled hurry of mispronunciation, because he’s three, he’s excited, and the little man the dinosaur eats is wearing black clothes and a helmet, people. “When he brings it, will he bring it into my room, or leave it outside. And if he leaves it outside, will I find it? And if he leaves it outside, will the Indominus Rex run away…?”
Because that’s Christmas, right? Magic and laughter and tiny people smiling under Christmas trees.
We all have memories of the Christmases when we got what our hearts desired. And we all have memories of the Christmases when we didn’t.
I want to make some of those first kind of memories for my boy. Shallow, or not.
Yes, I know that if I were a different type of parent, I would have bought that thing the minute I saw it, and stashed it away until Dec 24. And yes, I know that if I were a different type of parent, I would be making him a version of Indominus Rex out of egg cartons and tooth-picks and teaching my kids about the importance of making your own fun. And yes, if I were a different type of parent, I’d be looking around at the 21,0000 dinosaurs that already stalk my house, and I would say, ENOUGH.
But I’m not. Instead, I’m the type of parent who’s on eBay on December 11, pondering paying $100 for a toothy plastic toy that’s worth $40 and wondering how long shipping from the US really takes at this time of year.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
What are you trying to buy your kids for Christmas?
*No, my three-year-old hasn’t seen Jurassic World. I was scared by the blood and guts, never mind my already-sleepless preschoooler.
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