Ah, Christmas! Let the paganism begin!
This year it's 2009. Things are different this year, and people are going into 2010 with a whole new outlook. Retailers are exhibiting smarts by not not keeping huge inventories, the ramped up production of this year's super-hyped toy is taking longer than usual, and the public finally understands that it should have all it's shopping done before Thanksgiving.
It's a mellower holiday season. I heard about someone getting trampled over Zhu Zhu in Colorado, but that's about it. Using the "local" barometer, this year's Black Friday was a tame affair. Instead of operating like a herd, holiday gift givers have been conditioned into Guerrilla shoppers, taking out whatever bargains they can, and snagging the must-have gift when they see it. This is the Christmas of "when you see it buy it," because you won't get a second chance.
As far as the Hamster thing goes, I must admit to feeling like we're all getting schtuped somehow. Last year we all went nuts looking for Bakugon, and when our kids finally got them they didn't know what to do with them. After a few weeks of socializing, Bakugon is a legitimate hit, and the kids want more, but I'm pretty sure it has more to do with parents egos. Adults create these trends, it could be any toy. This year it's Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters, and they're pretty annoying.
First, you can't find one anywhere, and you get stuck paying twenty bucks if you do. Second, you keep hearing about the little kids that supposedly came up with the concept, and how they're millionaires now, and then you're reminded that you're not a millionaire, and that you can hardly afford to heat your home much less waste your time looking for a the latest and greatest trinket for your daughter. When you see the blank faced reaction the Hamster gets on Christmas day, you'll know what I'm talking about.
On a personal note, I skimped on a couple of my friends kids this year by picking up a few dollar action figures at the local toy show. That's right, I buy for my friends kids, at least the ones I see a lot, and this year we're cutting back for the first time. It's the best thing I ever did, because, carded action figures from the 90's (The Worst Decade) are plentiful and cheap, and when you buy for so many kids that you can't remember who likes/ has what, it's time to stop by your local swap meet with a Jackson and clean up.
Captain Planet, Bucky O'Hare, Star Trek, and more! Figures are mint on the card and polluting thrift shops, flea markets, and comic shops with harmful PFC gases, all over America. When you buy new, at retail, you only prolong the greenhouse emission apocalypse. All of those old toys need to opened and unleashed on the atmosphere. And they're not making any new toys anyhow. Have you been to Toys'R'Us lately. Empty shelves instead of Hamsters. Instead of buying in this year, save yourself a few bucks and guarantee that nobody gives the kids the same gift by purchasing a twelve year old MIP action figure for cheap at your local, independently owned retailer. Everyone will appreciate it in some way.