It’s that time of year again when we parents are a prime marketing demographic target, our children are too! Together we are seduced by television commercials, internet advertising, glossy toy catalogues, enticing, exciting, eye-catching in-store displays, festive jingles, extravagant Christmas light displays and visits with Santa. Yes, even at two, four and forty years of age!
I’m not invincible, my powers are limited and I will likely purchase Princess Poppy, a Disney character or two and some Lego Duplo – the struggle is part of the story. Admittedly vulnerable to stratagem and artifice, I still refuse to be ensnared when it comes to the following top five trend traps!
Don’t get me wrong! I relish in unbridled holiday enthusiasm. I live for seeing joy through the eyes of my three beautiful daughters. I look forward to capturing the excitement of the moment when they open up their many gifts (followed by squeals of pure delight). I reflect nostalgically on the everlasting Christmas memories of my own childhood. Please know, I do want my girls to understand the true spirit of Christmas (giving, caring and compassion), but at the same time, I kind of want them to have their every little heart’s desire…. with the exception for these Top 5 Trend Traps!
Top 5 Trend Traps
Trend Trap 1 – Elf on the Shelf
I’m all for adopting, but I feel like my cup already runneth over. In addition, my girls already report all good and bad behaviour about each other, that surely I can pass this information along to Santa myself. Plus, I have no time! I have no time to vacuum. I have no time to do laundry. I have no time to wax my brows. I have no time to grocery shop. There’s really not even much time for sleep! The Elf On The Shelf, although an effective tool for parents and a fun tradition for kids, would just be one more line on my hustle-and-bustle Christmas To-Do List. I admire my creative parent friends who use clever craft to make Elf on the Shelf magic daily and I will continue to enjoy watching. No judgement. Rather than be cornered by the Elf On The Shelf trend trap this December, I will try instead to find time for card writing, tree trimming, holiday baking, Christmas shopping and Santa visiting – even these may not transpire.
Trend Trap 2 – Shopkins
A range of small, grocery-themed collectibles manufactured by Moose Toys achieving phenomenal success. Some may call them adorable. There have been six seasons of sharing and trading among the varying degrees of Shopkin rarity. A phenomenon that has evolved into books, dolls, trading cards, clothing and its own YouTube channel. The craze hasn’t yet sparked interest for my two-year-old twins or my four-year-old, and I’m good with that. I’m cool with collecting, but how about maybe charms for a bracelet, Beanie Babies, Barbies, shells, feathers, dolls, toy cars, books, movies, key chains? The classics! The thought of hundreds of tiny miniature plastic creatures strewn throughout the house, perfectly underfoot, is not the only reason I hope to avoid this trend trap. Why are Shopkins marketed only to girls? Why are the cleaning products all depicted as female? Do Shopkins promote a consumerist lifestyle? “Once you shop, you can’t stop!” This trend may try, but I have yet to succumb.
Trend Trap 3 – Blind Bags, Blind Boxes and Egg Surprises
Growing in popularity, the random mystery of the blind bag, blind box and egg surprise bring out the addictive nature of little people. They are everywhere and at just the right eye-level! Did you know you could even pay for monthly subscriptions that are mailed to your door? Granted… cute, fun and inexpensive, but where does it end? Collectibles include Shopkins, Disney characters, Disney Junior characters, DC Comics, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Barbie and a list that goes on and on. This trend trap is too lasting for me to endure. What I am okay with, which many are against, is the virtual version of Blind Bags, Blind Boxes and Egg Surprises on the world wide web. Yes, screen time and free entertainment – here you will find countless videos of children (and even adults) opening up never-ending amounts of mystery collectibles, in every brand under the sun. The girls immerse themselves in continuous surprise. I’m okay with this, and yes, screen time is limited (and useful when really needed). Beats buying countless amounts of miniature collectibles one-at-a-time, not to mention the duplicates, at each and every turn (multiply by three daughters). With some channels boasting over 1,000,000 viewers, I know I’m not alone on this one.
Trend Trap 4 – Character Bedding
I’m all for character underwear and yearly character backpacks, but I draw the line at bedding. The girls change their favourite characters quicker than I can keep up with, imagine the cost of purchasing bedding (for three) on every whim, not to mention the matching accessories. That being said, they definitely do have bedrooms with character! I often find myself wondering how families with small children get around this. I’m open to suggestion, but in the meantime, I’ll steer clear of trend trap four.
Trend Trap 5 – Character Birthday Parties
In November 2018, our fab fam of five is planning to visit the happiest place on earth – Walt Disney World! I spent many childhood vacations discovering it’s magic and making memories to last a lifetime. The Magic Kingdom, home to Mickey, Minnie and the Disney princesses is where my favourite characters and beloved movies came to life with stories, sing-a-longs and meet-and-greets I fondly reminisce. I guess I want my kids drooling in eager anticipation so that their experience can be as otherworldly as mine was and in the fullness of time, their fantasy will become reality. Until then, it is my goal to avoid trend trap five of character birthday parties…”the fakes” out of respect for the genuine article!
Please note: This post represents my personal feelings and is in no way meant to judge. To each his own.
Are you caught in any of these top five trend traps? Do you have any others to add to the list?