Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Chaos of Generosity

I was watching my kids open presents yesterday. We're not rich, by any stretch, but, holy schneikie -- kids get a lot of presents these days. I mean, a ridiculous amount; so many that they forget what they actually opened.

On Christmas Eve, we snuggled into the couch as a family to watch some of the classic Christmas shows: The Grinch, Rudolf and Frosty.

At the end of Rudolf, the elves were dropping presents with umbrella parachutes (which, by the way, goes a long way to adding plausibility to the Santa conundrum; it would add speed...).

Anyway, the implication was that one present went to each kid. I wonder if this was ever the case. I imagine, in the misty Christmases of the past, it might have been.

It would have been an interesting thing. Instead of the chaos of generosity, children would have awakened to find that one thing they wanted. So much changes as a result of that. For one thing, the way we do it now has to be a contributor to the lack of focus we always complain about in our kids.

What to we expect to happen? We bury them in toys; we feed them a regular diet of rapid-edit films; we let them watch those movies in the van on the way to the grocery store; we let them watch the movies instead of reading the books; we yell at them for sitting around and doing nothing; we enroll them is seventeen after-school programs.

I guess, from a holiday perspective, though, getting that one toy must have lead kids to naturally look more forward to the family time than to the video game time; or, to the videogameremotecontrolhelicoptermutantninjaturtlebaublebaubebaubletime.

That is, if, of course, it was ever different.

Hell, I sat in a pile of playthings on Christmas morning, too. In the end, it was always a slow attention triangulation down to that one favorite toy, though, wasn't it? Maybe nothing has changed after all...

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