COMMENTARY: Making a List and Checking It Twice

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s that time of year again. Time to deck the halls, brave the malls, trim the tree, visit family—and if you’re a kid, it’s time to get serious about that Christmas list.

As we get older, our wish lists shift to more practical items, or fewer (and often more expensive) indulgences. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that my list included such fantasies as a horse like the one from the Billy and Blaze book series, an RV (a real one), a ride-on car, and other obnoxious requests.

Not everything was ridiculous or out of my parents’ price range, however. One Christmas I was delighted when Santa brought me a coveted doll that I’d had my eye on for months. Another year, Barbie’s shoe store made it down the chimney, to much jumping around and “YESSSS!!!”-ing. And the year that presents filled a shiny new Radio Flyer red wagon and overflowed all over the floor goes down as one of the most memorable of all.

Times have changed, and so have the requests of kids as they add, edit, erase, and perfect what may be the most important document of the year before carefully addressing it to the North Pole and sending it off to the big man himself. Here are a few gifts, old and new, that are sure to excite and delight the kids of today as they did us kids of yesteryear.

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The red wagon from my Christmas past was a simple, classic steel wagon that I thought was just the best ever. Now, Radio Flyer’s Build-a-Wagon offers customers the chance to design their wagon to their own unique specifications. Through the website, users can choose from the classic steel-and-wood design or modern plastic, quiet-ride or rugged rubber tires, and accessories including canopies, umbrellas, seat pads, and an MP3 player.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 10.46.08 AMWhile my wish for an RV never panned out, if I were to ask today I think I’d take a more reasonable route and go for Mattel’s Barbie Sisters’ Deluxe Camper. The RV opens up to reveal a bed, kitchen, bathroom (including a shower, which was key to the perfect camper, in my opinion) and flat-screen TV. The front part of the vehicle detaches to become a horse trailer or family car.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 10.47.27 AMLast, but not least, I don’t think I could write this article without including the doll that almost every little girl of my generation begged and pleaded for, along with her many accessories and set changes—the almighty American Girl doll. When I read my first American Girl book, Kirsten’s Surprise (yes, yes, I know, I started out of order) there were only four girls: Felicity, Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly. Today, there are 12 historical characters, each with her own series of historical fiction and a plethora of accessories available for her doll. Girls can also create a doll that resembles themselves from the My American Girl line. There are even baby dolls and boy-and-girl twin dolls, also with plenty of clothing and accessory options for a personalized doll.

Parents don’t always need to fulfill the literal desires of every item on kids’ Christmas list in order to have a successful Christmas morning. Sometimes it just takes a new twist on an old favorite, or a different incarnation of a request, to make everyone happy.

For more commentary from Christine, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!