I am of the the Cabbage patch doll era. As in, mass hysteria!! Must get my child that toy!!! I will steal it from another parent to get it for my child!!!! I will pay 50x what it's worth!!!!!
The year I got my first Cabbage Patch doll, I remember sneaking out of my bed in the middle of the night to see what Santa had brought. I tiptoed quietly down the hall, carefully avoiding the spots that creaked in the floor. I could see the glow of the tree around the corner, illuminating the room. And there it was. It was beautiful. I did little happy dance -very quietly - when I saw it sitting under the tree. The glow of the lights reflecting off her perfect, plastic face. I wanted to grab her and take her to bed with me right then. I was overjoyed. I doubt I got back to sleep that Christmas Eve.
It. was. magical.
My kids don't watch much tv. As in, rarely at all during the week, and, when they do, it's a 30min PBS Kids show. On the weekends, it's not much more than that, though there's often a cartoon that hubby has DVR'ed for himself and wants to watch, so the boys get to watch, too. But, since it's DVR'ed, they don't see the commercials.
Now, I'm sure I knew about Cabbage Patch dolls from commercials. And I'm sure I bugged the heck out of my mom because of it. But, my boys don't really ever see commercials (which has been intentional on our part). And they really rarely ask for specific toys (or foods, or anything for that matter). When they do ask for toys, it's not name-brand things (other than Legos, but, really, what else would you call those? It's not really like there's a market for generic ones, either, not that I've seen at least. Then again, I also don't watch commercials).
When we ask they boys what they want for Christmas we don't get much response. A plane. A tractor. Some Legos. Art stuff. All of which they already have. So it makes me wonder, have we stolen some of the magic of Christmas from them?
Now, I know Christmas isn't about presents and commercialism. I mean, we focus a lot on others (not just at Christmas, mind you) and make a daily concerted effort to avoid all manner of commercialism. But, the joy I felt, seeing that doll surrounded by glowing lights, that doll that I'd begged for forever (I mean, really, since the preceding summer at least), that doll that I actually still have because I've never been able to get rid of it, that doll that my children now play with. I feel a little twinge of sadness, of regret, that they don't have that.
Of course they're excited Christmas morning. And they're always thankful for whatever they get. But the experience doesn't seem as magical as it once did to me. Maybe that's because I'm a Grinch-y old adult now. I'm sure that's part of it. I just hope we've haven't inadvertently stolen one of the joys of childhood.
Today's Lesson: Unintended Consequences - (according to Wikipedia, because that's a totally legit source when blogging about random shit) outcomes that are not the ones intended by a purposeful action. So often the outcomes of our parenting are affected by these. For better or worse.