being realistic about out-of-control christmas wishlists. a guest post by allison ellis.

I’m pleased to introduce you to Allison Ellis, one of my fellow writers at Red Tricycle. Some of my faves that she’s written recently on Red Tricycle Seattle include Fine Dining with Kids in Seattle (some great suggestions!) and Lights! Camera! Actions! 59 Ways to See the Christmas Ships in Seattle. When Allison sent me this blog post earlier this week, it made me giggle because I can completely relate — although Janie and Meg haven’t jumped on the Christmas list bandwagon yet (I’m less than anxious to introduce them to this kid-tradition!), we certainly have conversations like this a lot at home — the realities of what Santa can and cannot get them for Christmas and no, every single toy they see on every single commercial is not a possibility, much to their disappointment. Thanks for filling in while I’m gone, Allison — look forward to meeting you in person when we’re both back in town! And, good luck with those Christmas lists!

One of the nice side effects of the crappy economy is that I feel like we’re all a little less obsessed with the theme of over-consumption come holiday season. Last year I wrote that the 2010 was the lamest year yet for kids holiday shopping, citing that the only things on my children’s wish lists were socks (socks!) for my daughter and a digger truck for my son.

My, oh my, have times changed.  Here is this year’s list, courtesy of my 9 year-old daughter, Liza.

It’s a bit difficult to read, so I’ll help you out. Here are just a few of the items:

Xbox 360


A computer

iPad 2

A dog

Good Lord! A dog? An iPad and a computer? What happened to the socks?!?! I just don’t get it. This list is about $1,000 over budget. Could this be one of those economic indicators that the recession might be coming to an end? Still. I want to take her back to that happy, simple, unencumbered 2010 place.

Now, my son, who is 4 and a half and very simple-minded (I call him the kid with the one truck mind) has taken a few cues from his older sister.  She has introduced him to the many delights of catalog shopping.

I like catalog shopping too. It’s relaxing. Especially when I’m looking at this one, this one, this one or this one. It takes me to a calm, peaceful space where everyone is chic and fashionable and the home décor is totally feng shui-d to perfection. Those catalog designers know what they’re doing!

But I’m one of those people who likes to look, not buy. You know, indulge in a quick fantasy about wearing those $498.00 boots (plus tax and shipping) and how fabulous my life would be strutting all over town before I slam on the breaks and envision the credit card bill in the mail. Yet all is not lost. I do actually feel a bit refreshed by the experience. It’s a healthy escape, if you will. So how can I impart this wisdom to my children?

I told the kids to be judicious. They can’t ask for everything, so I asked them to please just circle the items they most want. I opened up those catalogs recently. Nearly every single item on every single page has been circled.

So then I brought Santa in the mix; he’s no fool. “Listen, Santa can’t handle that kind of volume,” I said, “he won’t be able to remember all of this stuff, let alone haul it down our chimney. So tone it down. Please.

My son responded by circling every car on an Automoblox product card he found in his toy bin and then put it outside on the front step. “What are you doing?” I asked.

“The mailman will bring it to me,” he said.


Allison Ellis is a Seattle mom, children’s media consultant and freelance writer. She tweets at @AllisonEEllis

3 Responses to “being realistic about out-of-control christmas wishlists. a guest post by allison ellis.”

  1. Tiffany Says:

    One of my favorite memories of growing up is the time my dad asked my little brother for his Christmas list. I will never forget the look on my brother’s face as Dad tore the list into pieces and gave it back to him! I thought he was going to cry as he looked at me and said, “I spent a lot of time on that. I went through all the catalogs!” My dad is obviously hilarious, btw.

  2. Emily Johnston Says:

    I have to say that I love that silly string and silly putty made the list right along side ipad, computer, and xbox. That made me smile!

  3. MaryPat Says:

    this was a fantastic article Allison! Bwaaaaahaahaa “The Mailman will bring it to me” Oh Lord he is hillarious :)

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