We all know that the holiday season isn’t all about gifts - at least in the Christian world - but it’s a time-honored tradition, and a momentous mirth to give and receive neatly wrapped presents, quite especially so for children. Although the origins of this custom are debatable, the most sensible story would date back to the three wise men, or the Magi, who offered precious Myrhh, an anointing oil; Frankincense, a perfume or incense ingredient, and gold, to the infant Jesus in the manger. While I don’t think your child would have a healthy appreciation if he or she receives a large jar of Myrhh from a Ninong, there are other things that children have had quite enough of. For sure, some would justify their choice of gifts by using the much-too-often-heard “It’s the thought that counts!” phrase, but we do have to face up to the real world.
As a child of a simple businessman, I wondered who all these Titos and Titas were, sending me the coolest GI Joe figurines. I didn’t take long to figure out that they happened to run other enterprises “bidding” for next year’s supply purchases. I also have a developmentally disabled relative who would make me toys out of cut-outs and glue. As I matured, I treasured the makeshift toys more. But alas, whatever the intention, there are still a few things our children can truly, and I’m not afraid to say, toss out. Here is my little scroll of the aforesaid.
1. Bootleg Toys or Clothing We all are aware of the global economic crisis, and our personal endeavors to save money are of immense priority, but, Ninongs and Ninangs, offering pirated goods to children is never a good way to cut down on expenses. First of all, many materials used are not approved by the appropriate government bureaus and therefore may contain harmful or toxic materials such as lead or dangerous small parts, or even straps that can strangle a toddler. Secondly, procuring something “stolen”, no matter how good a copy it is of the original, is really not cool. There are so many more reasonable alternatives if you are budget-constrained, which, while not as large and impressive, are most definitely classier.
2. Toy Guns Child Psychologist Gilbert Ong, Ph.D. asserts that these types of toys are not appropriate for children below twelve. Other studies say that they are not good for children of any age, yet Dr. Ong explains that “Guns are everywhere, movies, TV, and a few parents I work with are responsible gun club members. It’s difficult to draw the line for younger kids, which warrants constant explanation. Nowadays there are so many toys to choose from, not like in the 80’s na kotse, manika o baril lang, so I believe it’s easier and more sensible to pick a mentally-stimulating toy”. Keep that in mind, as well as the hazards of “pop guns” with actual lead, or projectile guns that can wound or damage eyes.