Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Christmas Spirit

So, it’s not even Halloween yet, but the Christmas ads have begun on TV already. I’ve told the girls that they can’t have everything they see, but that they can start making their wish lists for Christmas, so every time we’re in a store together or I accidentally let them watch live TV on a channel with commercials, I get a few more items for the list. So far String Bean wants a princess bike, roller skates (the old school clunky kind that straps onto your shoes), Bendaroos, a new fairy wand, a jewelry box, rain boots, warm dresses, a new pig-shaped mini flashlight, and the new Tinkerbell movie that isn’t even out yet, but is already being advertised. I’m sure there are other items she’s thrown at me and I promised to put on the list but have already forgotten. So far Peanut has asked for…nothing. She got a doll house from her grandma for her birthday, and she spends hours playing with that every day. The rest of the time she spends with my old horse collection. Between those two diversions, she’s a happy girl.

I’m not sure what it is that makes some of us collectors: of clothes, jewelry, bright and shiny objects, toys, shoes, books, movies, you name it, while others just don’t value stuff so much. But I can tell you that I have one of each in my children. Maybe Peanut never asks for anything because with all of the stuff String Bean wants, pretty much every desire she could have is covered, but I think it’s more than that. String Bean is so aware of how things look, and puts a lot of value on the appearance rather than function of her objects. She’s prone to statements like “I just like pretty things,” as she sneaks her dentist appointment reminder card, decorated with a glittery rainbow, into her treasure box. Peanut’s treasures are all in her own mind, in the form of her imaginary scenarios that she acts out with her dollhouse dolls or Breyer horses. Aside from the doll she sleeps with every night, Peanut doesn’t keep any toys in her room or consider anything off-limits to her sister.

So, someday I’ll have to help String Bean understand the difference between a want and a need, and that not everything sparkly, shiny, or new is worth owning. Definitely before her teen years, when she’ll undoubtedly be on top of the latest trends and be a complete shopaholic. Maybe Peanut can help me get the message across.

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