Whenever I see my mother I come home with a little bag of goodies: Sunday coupons, magazines, and any other items she thinks might be of interest to me or my girls. One of her latest goody bags included a loaf of homemade pumpkin bread and the Target Christmas toy catalog, henceforth known as the Bible of Overpriced Plastic Stuff.
Now I am not a toy snob. The girls are currently enamored with their Shrek III donkey Happy Meals toys (thank God these don’t audibly burp like the last round of Shrek toys). Although I think nice wooden, classic toys are lovely, really I do, both my daughters have their fair share of cheap plastic annoying things that they play with and love. A few weeks ago, we were at the Cracker Barrel celebrating the close of my 5-year-old’s fall soccer season and we were browsing the toys while we waited for a table. I showed her an old fashioned sock monkey doll, thinking she might find its handcrafted sweetness irresistible, and she practically ran screaming to the princess dress up section.
Since the Bible of Overpriced Plastic Stuff arrived at our home, my oldest daughter has toted it around until its once glossy color pages are wrinkled and dog-eared. She holds it close to her chest, closes her eyes, and silently mouths her deepest desires to Santa. She’s even fallen asleep with it at bedtime. The cover has torn off and she’s diligently circled the toys she likes best with crayon.
We have always been fairly conservative with the number of presents the girls find on Christmas morning, but I’m painfully aware that at age five, my little girl’s innocent years of Christmas magic and wonder will slowly start winding down. I want this to be her biggest Christmas ever, not necessarily in quantity, but in quality or wow factor, but I also have told her that Santa can’t bring everything on her wish list. And that’s not what Christmas is about, any way.
I would love for her to wish for a gorgeous handcrafted wooden dollhouse that we could some day pass on to her children, but she’s obsessed with a Slutz, I mean Bratz Kidz, ice cream maker snow lodge. I’m not familiar with this line of toys, but I think they are a kinder, gentler, less skanked out version of the regular Bratz. We were shopping for a birthday present a few weeks ago and my daughter made a beeline toward the Bratz aisle, not to be confused with a collagen lip implant display, only to find another little girl drooling over the ice cream maker. The other mother and I exchanged knowing glances of resignation.
Barbie and Strawberry Shortcake are still big with both my girls, but the big lipped, dark-eyed allure of the Bratz is beckoning. That and the fact that the toy bed that comes with the ice cream maker lodge doubles as a candy sprinkles holder, something I often fantasize about when dreaming of a master suite makeover, is a combination they cannot resist.
My own mother never succumbed to my pleas for an Easy Bake Oven, and I’ve never gotten over it.