Parents do you remember the 1996 blockbuster hit “Jingle All the Way” starring Sindbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger? Don’t worry if you missed it, it wasn’t a “must see” movie, and far from being a blockbuster, it was simply about two fathers, one was a stressed-out workaholic, and the other was an overworked postal worker; each has a son, and both of them promised their sons the cool new toy for Christmas. However, both fathers waited until Christmas Eve to buy it.
This box office disappointment does reflect some real-life scenarios that more than a few parents face this time in the year. A large percentage of the population are middle-class parents requiring dual household incomes, with many parents working more than one job to stay afloat.
IN the holiday season prices of almost everything goes up, forcing more parents to work longer hours, and not having time to shop, and when they do attempt to buy overpriced gifts, they must fall mercy to the corporate brands and chaotic, hellish environment.
However we can buy online and not worry, it’s a simple click and pay – or is it?
Well its not that simple if the toy is not available or sold-out. The toys industry has several advantages compared to other manufacturing and distributing sectors. They can control the market, and not be publicly scrutinized (As a pharmaceutical company would be.) To prevent flat sales, months or weeks before the Christmas holiday, the toy industry simply increases their marketing with commercials and excels manufacturing and flood the market with the cool new toy, making it available everywhere.
Then at Christmas, the toy manufacturer slows production down, therefore causing an increased demand and making parents frantic; because they promised their child the “cool new toy,” forcing the parent to buy a different and more often expensive alternative.
Good news parents, after Christmas is over, and you bought the more expensive toy to make up for the inability and letdown you caused because you couldn’t give the “cool new toy” to your child; the manufacturers will release mass quantities of that toy so you can buy it! Helping you and their post-Christmas financial figures, assuring that they are stabilized.
What can a parent do so they are not guilted, pressured and extorted into buying toys that are costly because they were intentionally shorted on the market?
With the spirit of Christmas, it can be an excellent opportunity to teach our children about the value of appreciation and equality. We live in a very diverse socially economic country, with drastic ranges in household incomes. We as parents are aware that our children compare gifts they receive from Santa, causing some children to wonder why the other kid got the expensive toy, and they did not.
So why not have Santa bring the toy that doesn’t cost a small fortune. Let it be something with significant meaning. And not the toy that will make “Johnny” at school feel like he got short sticked by Santa. Teach our children that Santa treats everyone equal.
Leave that expensive, cool new toy that’s has been swept off the shelves to come from you.
This will allow parents an opportunity to give their children a written promissory note; with a dedicated day to shop for that toy –After Christmas (it could even be on sale saving you some extra money.)
This will allow your child an opportunity to understand that you worked hard to get this present for them; and who knows your child may want something entirely different when the promised shopping day comes along.
Authored by an eVillage Parent of four children