Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Short term disappointment vs long term enjoyment

Last year at Xmas Havoc was disappointed in most of his gifts. The thing he really wanted was the last thing he opened & by the time he got to it he was feeling pretty unhappy. But he was ecstatic when he opened that gift. It's not like he rejected a large pile of gifts, he had 5. It's not that there was anything wrong with the gifts he had opened. They just were not the 'hot rod' he really really wanted and had asked for from Santa. By the time he had opened the other 4 gifts he was upset that he hadn't received the one thing he had asked for & wanted. I don't criticize him for this. I've felt the same myself.  The thing is.... in the long term, those other 4 gifts have seen far more use & provided far more enjoyment than the one he really really wanted. The hot rod was the toy of choice for 48 hours and was played with occasionally for a couple months after that.  It's been sitting untouched on the shelf since July.  The Leapster he was so disappointed in, gets played with weekly, sometimes even daily.  The Thomas train station is always out, the books & game are played with regularly.

I know my children. I can tell very well which toys are impulse wants and which toys are likely to see long term use.  They love radio controlled things, but they rarely play with them. They are too young to appreciate & enjoy the challenge & skill development aspect of them, so they get bored.  But they find them enormously appealing & desperately want them. I'm not going to spend $40-75 on a toy that will see very little use.

This wasn't really a problem until this year.  Last year was the first year any specific toy really stayed in his mind and it was only one $10 item. Even though I suspected the toy would not be a long term toy it was not big deal to get it.  This year the list is much longer.  I've been hearing about various remote control vehicles and race car crashing things non-stop since September.  These toys are single use items. There are no creative play aspects to them and I know the boys will quickly tire of them. I'm not getting them. I've been trying to prepare the boys for this all along. They know they are only getting 3 things. They accept that. Havoc seems to understand that if you are only getting 3 things and you are asking for 10, you won't be getting some of them, but I don't think he grasps the reality of that.  Mayhem parrots his brother & doesn't understand at all.  I've told Havoc flat out that he will not be getting any of those ride on battery powered Jeeps and things and he cries about it but I see no point in lying to him. 

I've already bought their presents. Each of them is getting something they asked for already and a couple things I know they will like & play with long term that they have not.

They are going to be some very sad little boys Xmas when,in the end, there is no Shake & Go Crashing Race track under the tree.  But I just don't have $60 to spend on a toy that will be a thrill for 3 days tops & then ignored because it does nothing but crash cars together (I don't have $60 period. It'd be the only thing one of them got.).  Even small boys get bored with that after awhile.  I know that. But man I feel bad for refusing to buy the one thing my kids really really want.

No comments: