Press-Republican

Columns

December 2, 2012

Throwback Christmas presents

Black Friday shopping across the country this year was marred by stampedes, bludgeonings and gunfire.

All in the name of the Christmas spirit and in hopes of getting 30 percent off “Just Dance 4.”

Our family stayed in this year, instead browsing — but not buying — during the Cyber Monday sales.

Our children, however, are well aware of the impending holiday and have begun the badgering process. Not surprisingly, virtually everything they want is electronic: tablets, cell phones, iPods, video games.

Unfortunately, research has shown that too much time staring at screens can destroy brain cells in giant, irreplaceable bunches. Also, many of these electronic items are expensive budget-busters in a time of economic turmoil.

The question has been asked a million times, but is it really the spirit of Christmas to spend more money than you can afford on an array of gifts your children will break or forget about within two weeks?

Don’t tell my children — I want to see the surprise on their faces — but my wife and I have decided to have a holiday that hearkens back to the very first Christmas, when the infant Jesus was born in a humble manger … and, um, was immediately showered with gold and expensive scents and resins from wealthy strangers.

I implore other parents to follow our lead. Not just because it will will save you money — and will save our children from being the only ones ridiculed in school after the Christmas break — but because it’s the right thing to do.

Here are some practical suggestions of gifts you can give your children that will keep them from being turned into zombies by electronic screens:

Library Card: Think of it as the world’s thinnest, lightest Kindle. Read unlimited books for free, with pages you can actually touch (and occasionally write on). Promise your child an electronic book reader as soon as they finish all the books they can get with the library card.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time