Very recently, I may have caught a glimpse into a troubling future of Christmas.
A few weeks ago, as I strolled through the toy department at our local , I ran across an odd scene. A couple of kids racing through the aisles like a giggly bride before her bridal shower, electronic guns in hands, aiming it at the toys they want for Christmas.
It can’t be, my mind told me. They are NOT registering for Christmas presents.
I refused to believe it until I turned the corner and saw a friend of mine. As we chatted with each other, our eyes followed the children, who continued to gleefully scan toy after toy, their list seemingly endless with the power of technology in their hot, little hands.
“Are they?” We asked each other, both of us still not quiet sure yet what to make of it.
“It sure seems like it.” We answered each other as we grimly shook our heads, the mothers in us sighing with resignation.
Has it really come to this? Has our world of technology and online shopping finally tainted our traditional handmade wish lists? The long, handwritten kind that the children write out with love and thought, scrawled in crayon with pictures telling Santa that they have been good all year and they would really like a new bike.
I guess it can seem practical and efficient. Multiple households or grandparents who live out of town can now go online and search for what specific LEGO set or Monster High Doll the kiddies are requesting this year.
Check it off, cross your fingers that there will be no duplicates and move on. That seems to be in line with our world of instant messaging and Facebook. Maybe there’s an app for that — Christmas lists for every age.
I just have to wonder though: Is this really what we want our future look like? In a season full of traditions, do we really want to lose something as precious as letters filled with hope and magic?
For me, the thought of having an organized, computerized store list is almost like letting our children “order” their presents and this comes too close to destroying the innocence of Santa — at any age.
Children registering for presents may seem fun, easy and hassle-free, but so are cookies without frosting, a tree without ornaments and a holiday dinner without in-laws. It may seem simpler, but that’s not what this season is about.
It’s messy, time-consuming, and hard to follow sometimes — just like a 5-year-old's handwriting, but we learn to savor it and come to appreciate the effort. Lest we forget from How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
“Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!”
A wise man, that Dr. Seuss, who even without the knowledge of text messaging and Gameboys, knew that our world is constantly changing, but some things we should always hold sacred.
All children should believe in the premise of Christmas, the season of giving with love, not placing an order with an expected delivery date of Dec. 25, free shipping included.