They are not what you think. They are very inexpensive, easy to find, and most important, allow your children to maintain an imagination and a sense of wonder. I don’t know how many friends who have children have said that their kids unwrapped a Baby Einstein-ish toy and then spent more time playing with the box or wrapping paper than the toy itself. When I was a kid, there was nothing cooler than arranging a few chairs in a square and throwing a blanket over it to make a fort. Dragons were warned. This young knight was always ready to slay them with my wrapping paper cardboard tube, and if that failed, I had my knife hands. Ah, the good old days, before parents believed their young ones would only go to Harvard if they had toys that whizzed and banged and popped and sang, especially while sitting next to me on public transportation.
For Christmas this year, give your kids a pot and a wooden spoon and a backyard in which to run around.*
*Disclaimer: I have no kids. My only qualification is that I have a blog that you happen to be reading.