Its that dreaded annual trip to the land of the expensive tat! Toys 'R Us. Having put both children in nursery I convinced the husband on his day of 'working from home' to do a quick whizz round the toy store to do all the children's Christmas presents. He looks at me with dread, reaching sneakily for his crying wallet and shaking his head, I say, "Its time...."
It means two things, he wanders around both bewildered and glued to his blackberry, and I attack the store with gusto as the trolley piles higher and higher. We both know that by the time we reach the checkout we will just be throwing any old tat in the trolley regardless of price given that we have lost the will to live.
A very spotty kid will approach you at your lowest point, trying to sell you a store/credit card, and he will look despondently at you when you mumble an impolite "No!"
The pink isles are just sickening, and the toy cars/ships/trucks all do look EXACTLY the same, as does every single bit of sparkly, fluffy, shiny, plastic doll in there. All the doll babies look like the brides of Chucky.
The "educational" toys seem so outdated, if I presented my four year old with one she would look at it with utter disappointment, being used to playing with Daddy's iPod.
In fact I don't think the grey pixelated screens are any better than the Nintedo's I had twenty years ago!
I find the whole experience to be just infuriating, as I keep thinking "£45.00" for three plastic Peppa Pig figures, just because they have crowns and swords??? £72.00 for a talking Woody???"
Its disgusting- really!
When I was a child there was one extremely wealthy girl in my class at school, although it was common knowledge who here parents were, she was dressed as shabbily as those from the poorest homes, their toys were meagre, and their home, although he size of a stately home, furnished and decorated as it was in the 40's, and always freezing!!!!
It wasn't until much later in life when our paths crossed again, through friends, and siblings, I'd also found out their Christmas' were not spent at home, but away in third world countries, doing missionary and aid work. The three children along with mum and dad, would spend Christmas day digging wells, building huts and schools and tending to sick children. They were told as they grew older why; the fortune they were to inherit and be entrusted with, the business and empire they were to head would ruin them if they had no value for money. And so, it was that they lived a fulfilling but simple childhood and despite the obvious taunts, and occasionally bullying cruel children do to each other, this strengthened their resolve yet further, and they became worldly, wise, balanced and rounded adults unphased by wealth, money and shunned extravagance.
Would I really be all that cruel if I gave my daughter an orange and a lump of coal?!