Each holiday season brings certain traditions that are unavoidable. For instance, at some point in December, you’re going to turn on the radio and hear The Royal Guardsman singing the Snoopy vs. the Red Baron Song.
Stunned by the overwhelming and totally utter wrongness of it all, you might be distracted enough to listen to almost the whole thing before coming to your senses and finally – blessedly – turning that horrid mess OFF.
Unfortunately, that’s still three minutes of your life you’ll never get back.
Short. Worse yet, for parents coping with being cast as the hapless middlemen in the seasonal slog that is Santa versus the rest of the free world, there is the annual “gift” of the shortsighted toy makers who are apparently INCAPABLE of manufacturing enough of whatever the “hot” toy of the season will be.
I realize the elves were forced to outsource once the video game industry outpaced their production capacities, but there is still no excuse for this sloppiness. Be it Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmo, or Playstation 3, is it so hard to PLAN AHEAD people?
These toys are, we presume, still made from plastic, bits of cloth, and microchips, are they not? Why then are we treated year in and year out to “shortages” and “delayed shipments” that cause otherwise sane parents to lose their minds when it dawns on them that Junior may just have to forego what he “really really really wants” this year?
If I wasn’t such a kind and forgiving person in this season of hope, I might begin to suspect manufacturing motives of supply and much demand as being less than pure and purely profit driven.
Manufacturers: Don’t make me put you on the naughty list.
Most chilling, however, is the propensity for otherwise well-behaved, wholly reasonable children (yes, they do exist, and are actually quite common this time of year) to undertake feats of daring that both chill the soul and boggle the mind.
Namely, changing their Christmas wish lists in the 11th hour.
The same child who has wanted nothing but, say, every single Dora the Explorer-related item ever produced or even considered for future production (all lovingly purchased and gaily wrapped by Santa’s slaves – otherwise known as parents), will decide late on Dec. 24 that she really just doesn’t LIKE Dora anymore.
Instead, she likes princesses. Barbie princesses to be exact, and then only the ones in the blue dress.
The phrase “limited edition” will probably figure prominently in the product description.
Many a hapless Santa (or parental helper of same) has found themselves in the throes of panic, nearly prostrate on the floor of a Toys “R” Us on Christmas Eve begging the sales associate to please, please, for the love of Pete PLEASE have pity and look in the back ONE MORE TIME for whatever it is that little Junior decided on Dec. 24 he or she couldn’t possibly live without.
Express yourself. Obviously the fault of this (and virtually everything else) is squarely at the feet of parents. You cannot forget to share with your greedy-eyed offspring that it is a widely known fact that all letters to Santa and related lists must be in no later than Thanksgiving Day (later in some time zones).
That “Black Friday” of day-after-Thanksgiving-shopping-fame isn’t just a retail extravaganza, it’s a deadline, people.
This allows the elves in procurement and packaging back at the North Pole to work together to provide the most memorable Christmases ever.
Remember: this isn’t UPS or Federal Express. While the whole Christmas Eve delivery might SEEM like “overnight express,” in truth Santa is decidedly Old School.
He has nothing but a sleigh and, it is widely rumored, “eight tiny reindeer” to help things along.
Not eight strapping turbo-charged reindeer, mind you – eight TINY reindeer.
Clearly, packing and proper load placement is crucial lest the ASCPA be forced to get involved.
So, remember dear children,
nestled snug in your beds,
while visions of sugarplums
dance in your heads,
Please bow your heads low
and do listen to reason,
if there is but one lesson
you should take from this season,
We will be ever so grateful
and forever indebted:
Late wish lists and change orders
will not be accepted.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt had her wishes in early this year. She welcomes comments c/o email@example.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)
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