Well it is that time of year again, trees are decorated, houses are covered in lights, and children everywhere are struggling to contain their excitement. Of course I am talking about the holiday season and the eventual visit from everyone’s favorite man in red. This is probably one of my favorite times of the year and this year will be no different. Friends that I haven’t seen in a long time will be around, drinks will be had (responsibly of course), there will be plenty of visitors and visiting, and of course there will be gifts!!
Over the years one thing that I have noticed and have been guilty of myself is going overboard on the Christmas shopping and over the years I have noticed something. I have a lot of toys that may have been used for a couple of days (maybe weeks) and then never used again. Both us parents and Santa give our kids so much stuff that in a lot of cases it isn’t even used, and all the while there are families out there that don’t have the ability to do this. The saddest part of all is that there are some children out there that may not have anything under the tree. I have thought about this a lot recently and as I have been preparing to get my shopping done (those who know me know full well I haven’t started yet) an idea came to me. This year I am not going to buy as many presents as I have done before, both for myself and for my kids, yes the kids are going to get plenty of toys, clothes, etc, but I am not going to go overboard with it. This year I am just going to buy them the key things that they want and a few odds and ends and that will be it.
Am I the worst dad in the world for doing this? I prefer to think I am not, I like to think that I am giving the kids what they want and no matter what they are going to have the same excitement opening their presents this year and if there are a few less they won’t even notice. What I am going to do this year is what I encourage everyone to do, go and buy an unwrapped gift or two and donate it. Toy Mountain is a great cause and they are going to make sure that as many children as possible are going to wake up on Christmas morning and see a gift under the tree for them. I have heard so much about this cause lately and some friends of mine have been heavily involved with it and I think that my little sacrifice in my own house is well worth it if it can put a smile on another child’s face. As my children get older and we continue this tradition I think they won’t mind a little sacrifice as well.
So this holiday season when you are out in the madness that is your local Toys r Us or Walmart trying to get your shopping done. Why not take one of those toys that you are going to bring home only to see it packed away in your basement sometime in January and give it to the fine people at Toy Mountain. Something tells me the feeling that you will get doing that will feel just as good.
All the best
You have to wonder sometimes why the hottest and new toys out there always seem to be out of stock and the only way to find them is to go to the store all the time and hope you get lucky and find them. As most parents out there may have already heard of the latest and greatest game out there these days Skylanders, and as with everything else that comes out for some strange reason there is a shortage of characters for the game.
Now I thought I was ahead of the game with Skylanders, I bought it for my son’s birthday back before the Holiday rush and started getting characters whenever I happened to see some there. As this was happening I thought how great this game was for my son, each new character we would get would have new powers, open up other areas of the game itself and it was fun for all of us to play together.
Let’s fast forward to now, I have taken my son to Toys R Us, Walmart, and any other store that I think may have Skylanders only to see an empty display and a very disappointed little boy on multiple occasions. Then I look online to see if I can find some for him and see lots for sale at double, triple, or even quadruple the price!!! So after seeing this I turned to social media to find out why this is the case, according to Activision (the makers of the game) their distributors are shipping out skylanders weekly and according to the stores I have been to (Toys R Us, Walmart, etc) they hadn’t seen a shipment in three weeks. So who is lying and who is telling the truth?? I had heard rumblings that Toys R Us has been holding back stock for a big release on March 21st and that there would be plenty of Skylanders that day. Well today is March 21st and my parents are in line at Toys R Us in Florida and have been there since 8am (by the way thank you mom and dad for doing this you are the best parents/grandparents in the world) and they have been told that there are 4 different sklyanders in, they have 10 of each in stock, and you are only allowed to buy 1 per customer. I have to say that is just plain brutal!!
Thinking back to a few years ago I remember when the Wii came out, I remember the massive shortage of Wiis, the massive line ups at Toys R Us trying to get one as well as the way overpriced Wiis on ebay. Now you can walk into any store anywhere and there are plenty of Wiis for sale and for very low prices. The question I have is why?? Why is it that when something first comes out you can never find it and once the hype is over they are easy to get??
The answer to this in my opinion is simple, these companies want you in the store. If you have to come in every week to look for something that is not in stock you may buy something else. I get it, but I really think it is going too far now and may start having the opposite effect. I am at the point where I am so ticked off with these companies that if I have no other choice but to go there I will but if I can get what I need to buy elsewhere that is where my future money will go. I think if more people started doing this these companies may just smarten up and stop this strategy of limiting supply to increase demand and these scalper types who buy low to sell high would end up out of business. I read on a blog the other day about a skylander which I bought for $10 was on ebay for $75 and I feel bad for the parent that will end up paying over 7 times the retail price to get this skylander for their son or daughter.
The funny thing about this is the fact that we all know in about 6 months time there will be plenty of skylanders in stock everywhere and they will be easy to get. Unfortunately the next big thing will be out and we as parents will be forced to move heaven and earth to find the next big thing for our kids.