It started well enough. There was a great big sign on the wall that said 'hope' and 'joy' right outside. And then I went inside, greeted by a mammoth crowd. It only got worse going into the usual mega-stores with the biggest range of toys. I hate crowds to begin with. I also hate shopping when I actually have to buy something. In this season, it only gets worse. Everything screams "buy me!" and the displays fairly reek of material gratification. It wasn't long before I worked myself up to a startling realization: having been unwittingly drawn into the present trap in years past, there is now a bit of pressure to outdo previous presents. The kids are growing up, after all, and they do see the commercials and the catalogs. They know what's out there, and what else is a child to think when they see all those wondrous toys, but that they are meant to have all these things?
And an endless trap it is. There will always be something flashier, with more features, more umph, edgier, etc. What have I gotten my children into?