As I was scrolling through facebook this morning, I saw this post come up: Parents Are Freaking Out Over This Sold-Out Hatchimals Christmas Toy.
Immediately I thought, why are parents freaking out over this toy? What is so special about this toy? Is it not like any other toy that suddenly jumps to popularity before the holiday season? Is it not just another plastic toy that will end up in the landfill after being played with for a few moments or days?
Don't you find it odd that each year parents across the country are scrambling to find this "must-have" toy for their children to ensure that their child will have the best and happiest Christmas morning ever?
This my friends is consumerism and commercialism at its best. I was prepared today to write a post about choosing holiday traditions over holiday consumerism. I guess I am still writing that piece just with a different spin.
Let me share with you a few key reasons why your child does NOT need "this" toy (or any other toy they tell you that you need for the holidays):
1) They are an overly expensive and low quality product. These toys are made of plastic and will inevitably break (you know that right?). They are selling for $60 US - that is incredibly inflated, considering it was made by a machine in a manufacturing country that underpays and poorly treats their employees. Do you remember all the other toys like this that you purchased for your children because they reeeaaallly wanted it? It was going to be the BEST present they could ever get. They would love you forever if you got them that toy. Where is that toy now? How long did it last? Save yourself the $60 and purchase a quality toy that will last for years (wooden toys for example) or purchase an experience that will last a lifetime in memories.
2) The media is creating a buzz around this toy and they want you to run around like a maniac searching for it, waiting in line ups for it, paying black market prices online for this toy. This is why this article was created - to market this product to you and your child and to get you hyped up about it. Corporate toy companies know that you and your child will buy this product if you feel that it is special and that other children and families will own this product. They know you won't want your child to feel left out and miss on the toy that all the kids have. Don't fall for the scam! Don't feed their ego.
3) Your child is smarter than this toy! They do not need a plastic toy that hatches from egg. If they want to see hatchings why not consider purchasing eggs in the spring and hatching them yourself. Or visit a local farm. Let them have real hatching experiences with real animals in real life. Let them create their own hatchlings. Make them out of paper mache and put a surprise inside for them. If your children are old enough they can do this on their own or you can do it with them (yes I know, you don't have time to do that - but you do! Think of all the time you saved yourself by not waiting in line ups early in the morning to try get one of those fake hatchlings). Your child needs toy that will spark their imagination and developing their growing mind - this toy will do neither of those.
4) Your child does not need every toy on the market or every toy that other children have. It is simple - you can say no to your children. You can say not to the "it" toy of the year. You can say no to toys that you believe will not benefit your child. You have the power to say no to your children - and they will be better off for it in the long run. Our family says no to our children all the time and they are still happy, they continue to enjoy life and they love us! We typically talk about the reasons why we don't purchase toys like this - they break, they are made by workers who are not paid well, they are made of plastic (which is bad for the environment). Once you explain these reasons to children they are very understanding and logical and they will often decide against the item.
5) Your children need less toys overall, less stuff. They need more experiences, more exploration and more imaginative play. They need to spend time reading, playing with rocks and digging in dirt, playing in water with bubbles, coloring on walls and exploring their world. Let them be bored. Let them figure out what to do next. Let them be kids without all the distractions of toys. Our children ages 2-9 years play with all the same toys - blocks, silk scarves, animal shapes and dolls. Those are the only toys we have. They all play with them differently, yet they are all happy! Choose to spend time with your children, enjoy family traditions and celebrations together and share your past with your children (they love hearing about you as a child).
What toys do your children play with that have lasted through the years? What are your thoughts on consumerism and the holidays?
Stay tuned for another post about choosing traditions over choosing consumerism!