Opinion

Travelling with toys leaves no room for troubles

I was driving from Willowbrook Mall with three bags full of toys for the Christmas Bureau from the Gifts for Kids tree.

We have some great volunteers who make that daily run but I was there, so I picked up a load.

As I was leaving the green light at #10 Highway, a driver decided to make a left turn on the red causing me to brake sharply. The bags banged around in the back seat of my truck and then  from inside them, sirens started sounding, dolls started talking, and other things were clanging and buzzing, all activated by their bouncing around.

No harm was done and I suddenly had a thought that this must be what happens when Santa Claus hits some turbulence. So instead of swearing at the driver, I smiled and said, “Ho, Ho, Ho.” After all, how can you be in a bad mood with a cab full of toys?

Here I was with 40 or 50 brand new toys that were going to make a whole bunch of kids happy. Most of them are pretty sophisticated. They transform or they light up. They carry on a conversation or they compute solutions or take you to magical places.

Recently I saw a photo of a new iPhone for kids six and under. Beside it was a photo of two cans joined by a string. The point was to illustrate what six-year -olds of my generation played with as opposed to the multi-faceted piece of engineering kids have at their disposal today.

In our registration office, we keep a few toys around for kids to play with while their moms are busy. The most popular toy is a wooden duck with two wheels and a long handle. It’s probably worth about $5.The kids fight over who is going to run around the reception area with it. The handle has been broken and taped and the paint is chipped and but it moves and makes noise. The kids love it.

Each year, we receive donations of many handmade wooden trucks, planes, tractors or animals with wheels. The parents seldom choose them, selecting plastic items that unfortunately won’t last long in most houses with two or more kids.

Those wooden toys made with love by a talented craftsman will last forever.

But parents have been convinced  that all these colourful, battery-eating toys will stimulate the child’s imagination or enhance their learning abilities. Those kids with that mended wooden duck don’t seem to have any imagination problems.

But all that aside, they all look great under the tree and you have a few shopping days left to be creative. In the mean time, take note of what you’re taking with you in your vehicle for the next few weeks.

Are you bringing on board a briefcase full of stress? Are you letting some anger or frustration squeeze into the back seat?  Do angry words or depressing thoughts slip in and sit beside you?

You have to close the door before all that stuff gets in. Turn on the Christmas music and sing along, you know the words and everybody sounds great in the car.  I doubt very much that Santa lets any of that negative stuff find its way into the sleigh.

Buy the kids ice cream and pop and chocolate. Get in the Christmas spirit. Travel with toys, not troubles.

At least that’s what McGregor says.

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