So Little E brought home a note from his day care a couple of weeks ago, announcing the annual Christmas party. All boys were supposed to bring a boys’ gift, girls were to bring girls’ gifts, and everything was supposed to stay under $10 – the usual drill, really.
What’s amazing is how much I agonized over what to get. Pardon me while I be a big hippie for a few minutes here.
I’m really sensitive to this kind of stuff when it comes to toy purchases, cartoons and whatnot where my own son is concerned. We got Cars 2 when it came out on DVD, and I was a bit shocked by the amount of gunfire in it. Yes, we’re talking about cartoon cars shooting at other cartoon cars, but still… really, Pixar? Gunplay? I thought you guys were so much more clever than that. There’s a huge amount of mileage between Zurg shooting nerf projectiles at Buzz in Toy Story 2 and Cars 2‘s secret agent cars firing bullets and doing martial arts moves on each other.
And it really disturbed my kid. He actually had nightmares about it. I suspect Cars 2 is going to be sitting on the shelf for a long time. I haven’t really raised him to be a total softie – we plays all sorts of video games together – but something about that movie really bugged him. We haven’t watched it again.
Now, while you’re trying to fathom that, imagine trying to anticipate the likes/dislikes of someone else’s kid. I know a lot of the boys in Little E’s class, and they’re pretty good kids, but for cryin’ out loud, one of them had a Batman-themed birthday party. Little E’s tastes are different, and he’s a quiet, reserved kind of kiddo, sorta like his daddy.
As I was wandering through the store aisles, utterly perplexed, I quickly came up with a series of parameters: go ahead and buy something like I was buying it for my own son. No shooting toys, no guns, no wrestling characters or movie or cartoon characters who have “blowing stuff up” written into their DNA. Nothing, in other words, that’s built around violence from the word go.
I seriously thought about avoiding anything that was in any way related to a licensed property at all – no movie, cartoon or TV characters period… but it was about then that I also became consciously aware that I was close to boxing myself in to buying something lame. 😆
And funnily enough, after all of that deliberation and contemplation, I come up with something that’s got WARS! Right on the packaging! And, of course, there’s absolutely no guarantee that the random recipient of Little E’s gift will be even remotely interested in Star Wars, what with it being so old and uncool and all. But you have to admit, Artoo and Threepio are about the most inoffensive characters in the whole story, in addition to being present for the beginning and the end of it.
And I’m still convinced that there’s value to the story. Good vs. evil, sacrifice, redemption, and in the prequel trilogy, a cautionary tale. If I’m going to turn your kids onto something, it’s gonna be some pretty good stuff. (You’re welcome.)
(Sorry about WARS! right on the packaging. The last “Droids” branded stuff went out of production in ’86, and even if I could find any of it, chances are it’d break that ten-dollar rule.)
Merry Christmas, and enjoy!
P.S. What did I get for Little E this year? I’ll discuss that soon, especially since he’s not on the interwebs as yet. It’s quite the mini-smorgasboard of goodies.