Santa is a girl.
You know it. So is the Easter Bunny.
And since I’m assailing assumptions and trashing traditions, I’m also getting a little bored with the Want Need Wear Read Christmas categorization of the mommy blog world. It seems like this is just the year to blow ’em up and start anew. The whole point of gift giving is to put oneself in the shoes of the receiver, right? And if you put yourself in the little crocs at our house, all you want is an Xbox. And if you can’t have an Xbox, then you want money for video games, Star Wars Legos, Minecraft and Pokémon.
But Santa doesn’t just take orders from little dictators sporing cutie eyes. She likes to be creative. She likes to give the unexpected. She likes to give orders. And so in the spirit of little boys, I’ve come up with four new categories for 2017:
Fight, Flight, Write & Sight
A little background behind these new categories that will undoubtedly sweep the nation, and Pinterest, in a little boy pitchfork mob protesting Want Need Wear Read. For better or for worse, the current administration will undoubtedly be working this into their next press conference…
FIGHT: There just seems to be something about testosterone that drives an insatiable need for inventing, finding, fashioning and testing all manner of weapons. Somehow these little people emerge from the womb with a sixth sense of projectiles. The trick is to harness this sensibility for good, like developing skills in physics and engineering, keeping them occupied outside for blissful hours of mama time… and watering plants.
FLIGHT: What’s better than running at top speed with a new weapon? Swooping down on your opponent from above, with said weapon.
WRITE: Despite the allure of keeping them illiterate and thus powerless, the benefits of paper entertainment tip the scales. Reading and writing projects actually work these days, unlike those delusional attempts at airplane coloring books during the toddler years.
SIGHT: It doesn’t seem like it, but they’re actually beginning to care about how they look. Mirrors and reflective windows at night still provide endless hours of fun. As they say on the soccer field, “You gotta look good to play good.” Grammar shmammer… how’s my hair?
And now, the 2017 No It All Gift Guide for Boys (Ages 6-9):
Slackers Danger Toys: OK, that’s not exactly the official brand; I may have embellished a bit. Our local toy store recently exposed us to all kinds of intriguingly high priced adventurous backyard danger… enter the Slackers line of various ninja training contraptions: ziplines, slacklines, ninjanets, swings, water toys… everything your little martial arts monkey’s heart desires. I now have a whole new vision for our back meadow. ER doctors rejoice.
Chess set: It’s not as violent as Harry Potter wizarding chess, but real chess still lets you simulate fighting under the guise of developing strategic thinking skills. I’m kind of digging these vintage Russian chess sets… election interference not included.
Hose nozzles: What more can I say?
Pet paraphernalia: Toys, leashes, collars, cookies: Oh do I have a delinquent doggie drama drafted for you. Puppies appear to be an endless pit of cute-induced consumerism. Little boys just eat it up. So do pointer puppies. Literally.
Tackle boxes: Granddad had the brilliant idea of putting together tackle boxes for two aspiring fishermen. We’ll see if they follow in their mother’s waders. Oh the thrill of fighting unseen fish. In any case, the beauty of this present is that all tackle boxes are environmentally and fiscally responsible as their contents simply spawn from the rusty, questionably sticky, overflowing and dented depths of other tackle boxes. It also appears that even with all the hipsters and artisans these days, no one is making a new version of a vintage metal tacklebox. Portland, are you listening?
Rock em Sock em Robots: Solid giggles. We pretty much only patronize wineries, coffee shops and burger joints with complementary robot fighting games to pass the time while you wait for your food. The link goes to Amazon, but after reading the reviews, I’d recommend finding an affordably priced old timey version on eBay. Looks like it was originally made by Marx, not Mattel.
Tree swing: Now if you’re not quite ready for all out American Ninja Warrior, may I suggest a nice tree swing or rope swing? Some pretty cute choices available on Etsy (tree not included). Looking for a middle of the road choice between your average swing and Slackers? I’m considering the Swurfer. Note to Swurfer: You’d sell more to Santa if your models wore their bike helmets.
Chicken swing: Urban farming is all the rage these days. And what could be better than watching your ninjas swinging next to your chickens? Extra points if you make it. I also see an unmet business opportunity on Etsy… not one single handmade chicken swing to be found.
Terrariums: Their plastic cages for capturing and studying nature are cracked, lost or no longer secure jails, I mean habitats, for creepy crawlies and airborne anthropods. Just be warned, you may find yourself raising 19 tadpoles into young adulthood.
Star Wars Lego Advent Calendar: This will undoubtedly be a hit (and yes, I mean to your wallet). Keep in mind, it’s more of a Thanksgiving present. Carefully consider your roll-out strategy and how you might leverage this daily reward system in relation to the training programs on toilet-seat lowering and pet chores to which they are already enrolled. Maybe, just maybe, your six-year-old will finally begin to grasp the concepts of past, present and future.
Avatar: the Last Air Bender Library Edition Series: Interested in less ninja sparring and more ninja reading? Look no further than these five oversized hardback graphic novels. Buy yourselves many a lovely restaurant meal as the big ninja reads to the little ninja. Plus carrying it around makes their nunchuk-chucking arms tired.
Plants vs. Zombies: Some little boys just can’t seem to get enough of these. I know I sure can, but I’m not the target audience.
Quarter Collecting Portfolio: The boys have had a grand old time dumping mountains of coins into little piles all over the living room, searching for elusive state quarters. Tell yourself they’re absorbing a smidge of geography.
T-shirts from Unusual Places: Insert some variety into their wardrobe of Pokémon and Minecraft t-shirts sourced from your usual weekend haunts. A recent trip to my local Parks & Rec uncovered a file cabinet full of what can only be described as “Little Boy Cool Approved” SLO Skate Park t-shirts and stickers. Our beach-side coffee shop has a display sporting two designs: graphic octopus and Bob Jones Trail tees. The only caveat? Buy ’em when you see ’em… inventory management is not their strong suit.
Used wetsuits: Last year’s Gift Guide brought you the gift of the year for coastal elementary schoolers. Boogie Boards. But unless you live on the Gulf of Mexico, this gift is almost useless without a skintight thermal blanket. Be vigilant. Never let your guard down. You may find it on Craig’s List. eBay. In that granny antique store on the corner. At the flea. $20? Buy it.
A big mirror, hung down low: I recently read an article on Houzz that really got me thinking. This is brilliant. Most nights I find we’re talking at the dinner table and they’re busy making faces at themselves in the reflective windows behind me. How do we think Jim Carrey got so good? Mystery solved.
Great American Root Beers 10 Pack: Jacob recently spotted this variety pack while running errands with his dad. What could make you look cooler than casually drinking a flight of root beers to determine which one you like best? Uh… a flight of root beer floats… duh.