Here we are, 19 days until what kids think is the best day of the year — Christmas. How does it sneak up so fast on us old folks?
There are people who start planning for the next Christmas on Dec. 26. They create beautiful arts and crafts, start wood projects, crochet and knit for next year’s gifts. I am not one of those people.
However, I do buy Christmas presents all year long because we have 18 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. I keep a “treasure” chest where I store these gifts until Christmas. (I have been known to dip into the gifts for a birthday present or two when I forget someone has a birthday.)
It was easy to buy for the grandkids when they were young. The boys wanted baseballs and gloves and the girls wanted dolls. I left the clothes for the parents to buy.
Curious at what is popular today — and being completely out of touch with our teenage grandkids and their likes — I Googled for popular gifts. I was amazed at what is popular. Some of these items I had never heard of before.
Among the top 10 “gotta haves” for kids, according to http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/2013-top-10-christmas-gifts-list, (I found it odd that a money-lending company would sponsor this list), are: Tobbles to teach young children dexterity, a personalized story book, a Ninja Turtles Lego set and a Hello Kitty bath set. These make sense.
The “men’s” list was a bit of a challenge for me: “Breaking Bad” Box Set. I know “Breaking Bad” is a show on television but I could not tell you what it is about. Next, the Tarantino Box Set. Who or what is Tarantino? Followed by the Man Candle. These candles smell like pizza, sawdust and grass clippings. I kid you not.
The list of women’s most popular gifts was a bit more civilized. At the top of the list is a portable phone charger, an “at-home” gel nail kit, an apron described as “girly” with a red ruffle, a knitting kit, stationary and a scarf. Trust women to make sensible choices. Not one pizza candle on the list.
The “Teens and Tweens” category doesn’t have to make sense, if you know teenagers and their likes. Take for instance the cardboard deer head, “taking taxidermy to a different level.” What about “Assassins Creed: Black Box”? Hopefully a video game, but do we really need to teach more teens how to kill?
Round out this list with a Ryan Goesling journal (who is Ryan Goesling?) and a Swiss Army knife, headphones called “Beats by Dre” and a bath set by Bath and Body Works.
Family and friends aren’t the only people in our lives to receive Christmas gifts and retailers know that. Popular office gifts are quizzical, to say the least.
How about an unzipped glass zipper bag filled with jelly beans; or super magnetic putty; or a photo frame made out of a bicycle chain? Or titanium multi-tool collar stays? (How many people know what a collar stay is today?) Need a Ninja umbrella or a barbecue briefcase (filled with tools to flip a steak)? A wallet made out of a fire hose and a purse formed from a fire sack round out many options.
Whatever happened to receiving new socks and underwear, an orange, candy and nuts, and grandmother’s fruit cake (given with love but so sweet we hardly ate any of it)?
No matter what you choose to give or what you receive for Christmas, the best gifts are family and friends. You can’t buy real love. It comes from a thankful heart and time spent together.
One last thought, as always, please be kind to each other. The world needs more kindness.
Susan Tobias lives in Plattsburgh with her husband, Toby. She has been a Press-Republican newsroom employee since 1977. The Tobiases have six children, 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They enjoy traveling to Maine and Colorado, and in her spare time, Susan loves to research local history and genealogy. Reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.