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With the Santa Claus parade here today and Christmas season looming, I am reminded of the days when Gill, L’il Sis and Crazy Dave were children and the most important thing about the ‘Big Day’ was the toys. Looking back now through rose-tinted glasses (or perhaps it’s an offshoot of the recent warning from my optometrist that I could be developing glaucoma), I think I was somewhat restrained in my buying of same for them. Well, on second thought, perhaps not. An article I read in the paper revived another memory — that of the Care Bear and Cabbage Patch doll crises.

The big toy phenom for this year is something called ‘Hatchimals’. They are rather large (2/3 the length of a football) egg-like enclosures containing furry, bird-like creatures that children must pet and cuddle in order for the creature inside to ‘hatch’. Once hatched, the  fuzzy critters develop much the same way as a human. That’s the  Cliff notes version, but it gets the main idea across. The toy was the brainchild of a Toronto company and has been so popular it is sold out , no longer available in North America or England.

I cannot help but think, with some of my real pet birds exhibiting signs of nest-building and wanting to once again bolster my dwindling canary population, that I could just send kids some real, live birds and be done with it. I think they’d find them infinitely more fascinating (and that would take the load off me!) Who am I kidding? If we do have more baby birds, I’ll add them to the collection and love every minute of it.

But back to the Hatchimals… of course, there are endless line-ups of parents desperate to buy a Hatcnhimal for their kids. (And the more foolish parents made the amateur parenting mistake of promising the toy from SANTA!!!) It’s bad enough if your kid hates you for the next three years, but if you lay the crime on Santa, you’d better be prepared for open mutiny.

Anyway, I digress. I, a parent who thought she was SO above this sort of crass commercialism all those years ago, caved. All three kids wanted Care Bears and Cabbage Patch Kids. I, eager to please (one kid in overt mutiny is bad enough, but 3??!! Give me a break. I may have been foolish, but I wasn’t stupid!) followed all the local rumors about shipments about to be made to certain stores. I got up early, stood in line –a thing I NEVER do– did everything I could think of to be first in line. It didn’t get me anywhere, but I tried. I did eventually cobble together a collection of three something-or-others for Christmas, but I recall that one of the Cabbage Patch dolls came by way of the airport shop in Hong Kong (a last-minute coup by their father returning from China).

I now have the luxury of decades and hindsight (and perhaps a more jaded view of parenting) so am now able to admonish modern parents for becoming victims of this frenzy. Perhaps it is better to let the little hellions learn early on that life is tough and that you don’t always (or often) get what you want…unless your name is Trump and you just take what you want, bulldozing everyone, others be damned.

Merry Christmas! It is rather nice to be at the stage when we simply eat too much, drink too much, laugh too much with each other…and are in bed, sated but happy, by 10!

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