A few pre-Christmas observations: 1. Men are simple creatures. As I meander up and down the aisles of Toys ‘R Us, I continually to stumbled upon toys that I would love to receive as a gift. Remote controlled helicopters and cars, sling shots, Nerf guns, yo-yos, jump ropes, board games, skateboards, video games and more.
While I struggle to fill my wife’s stocking with anything but candy every year, she continually packs mine with the cleverest of gifts.
In fact, she’s the best stocking stuffer I have ever known.
But I realized as I made my way through the toy store that this is because men never outgrow the toy store. Filling a man’s stocking is easy because men continue to play with toys throughout their lives, and the toy store will always be a place where a clever woman can shop for her man. I don’t know what Elysha has planned for this year's stocking, but I promise you that her choices are likely to be small, silly and some of my favorite gifts of the year.
3. F.A.O Schwarz has apparently leased a section of the Toys ‘R Us store to sell their own merchandise, and at the beginning of this section is a kiosk selling F.A.O Schwarz gift bags for 98 cents each.
Correct me if I am wrong, but the implication here is that there are consumers in this world who shop at Toys ‘R Us but who purchase an F.A.O. Schwarz toy in order to convey the appearance that the gift was actually purchased at the world famous store in New York City.
Is there any other explanation for a brand-named gift bag?
The presence of the kiosk or the bags themselves didn’t bother me so much. As much as I like to think that austerity is slowing creeping into people’s mindsets, there will always be people on the bottom end of the sensibility bell curve.
But the fact that the kiosk was capable of holding hundreds of bags and yet was nearly empty was my greatest cause of concern.
3. Searching for a gift for twin boys, I came upon an enormous section of Nerf guns. A glorious collection of handgun and rifles that fire small, soft Nerf pellets at their target.
I stared at the choices for a long time and finally texted Elysha.
Me: Can I get the boys toy guns? Nerf guns.
Elysha: Not sure…
Elysha: I think so. Is there something else as good?
Me: Nothing is as good as a toy gun.
I continued staring at the array of weaponry before me, trying to decide if the boys’ parents would approve. I thought about the parents' careers, their religious beliefs, their political leanings and examples of their parental decision-making from the past. I thought and thought, and then the solution struck me like a thunderbolt.
I bought four guns. One for each boy and one for each parent.
Buy a gun for everyone and it becomes time well spent with family.
Sort of like buying Monopoly. Only a hell of a lot better.