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There’s a certain delight that comes when I find the perfect gift and I realize, “I’ve nailed it.” Maybe it’s something you’d never get for yourself or didn’t know you desperately needed. Maybe it’s something that’s purely fun and so whimsical it makes everyone laugh. Maybe it’s a sentimental photograph capturing that special something in someone’s face, framed just right. Perhaps it’s absolutely decadent and delicious or it’s that impossible find. Or maybe it’s even the noisy and trendy gift that everyone wants.
All year long I photograph events in our lives, knowing that the perfect photograph can be turned into a beautiful keepsake. I will scour lists of “hot toys” of the year for all age groups. I’ll even try and keep up with fashion by perusing Gilt Groupe and Vogue magazine (a large stretch for this yoga pants wearing mom) to be in sync with the fashion sense of my teenage girls. And as much as I don’t understand the draw of video games, I’ll try and be savvy about the latest shoot’em up or sports games for my boys. It’s tough work to be in touch with changing preferences, but my quest for best Christmas spirit and favorite Aunt status energizes me.
Years ago at Christmas when the Wiggles were popular (do you remember them – grown men in bright shirts that sang songs about yummy fruit salad for the preschool set?), we got our two year old son William an electronic Wiggles guitar. I’ll never forget his reaction — he tore open the gift wrap, whooped for joy, and started running back and forth the length of the room. Later on, that guitar would turn on spontaneously in his toy box, sometimes in the middle of the night. This meant that I’d wake up hearing a noise and think someone had broken in, only to realize that – nope – it’s just the Wiggles.
Therefore, it was funny when I saw the headline of a recent Wall Street Journal that said, “The Toys That Will Drive Parents Nuts” with a photo of the exact toys I had just bought my nieces for Christmas (Let’s Rock Elmo and a purple Fijit). I had an “uh-oh” moment, but it was just a moment. Why? Because I realized it’s not the parents that matter most on Christmas Day. I mean, who cares about the parents when there are adorable little ones around? The 25th day of December is about Jesus’ birth on a miraculous winter’s night. It’s all about hope, enchantment and joy. This magical day cries out for amazing celebratory gifts for everyone. The wise men undoubtedly understood this!
When I read that article, I thought back to the Wiggles guitar and laughed. The slight irritation was still worth the joy. I adore being the giver of these special gifts and will work tirelessly in pursuit of the next “whooping and running” moment.
So, if I hear any complaints from adult family members about beeping, snoring or otherwise annoying toys, I may just take my gift-giving fervor to the next level and wrap up that cute furry four-legged creature your kids have been clamoring about.