When you have children, things invade your life that you never thought possible.
Things like ZhuZhu pets, which are annoying little hamsters that move and make squeaky sounds as they reside in their “Zhu-niverse.” They do amazing things like dash under your couch and sit, shrilly squeaking away, forcing you to get up and battle the dust bunnies to rescue them. They also come with a warning for your child not to get their hair too close to the spinning wheels, as, whoops, suddenly your six-year-old is wearing their ZhuZhu much like those funny floral pom-pom things the Queen wears when going to social functions. From personal experience, the only removal for said ZhuZhu requires scissors and a whole lot of tears.
Bottom line. No child needs a ZhuZhu pet or most of the other stuff I fondly refer to as CPC (Cheap Plastic Crap). While everyone likes getting a gift, and not all gifts have to be strictly practical, I think many parents would agree — our children have way too much CPC in their lives.
So this year, I’m trying to avoid the CPC as much as possible. I also note that much CPC is made in China, and while I’m also not boycotting such products, I am making a decision to try and support our local economy as much as I can.
Here are a few ideas for those trying to keep the CPC at bay.
Give services, not stuff.
This is a concept I’m embracing. My kids are getting swimming lessons as one of their presents. It will give them hours of enjoyment and benefit them far more than another My Little Pony. To counter the “no-gift-to-open” effect, they will be getting new swimsuits (which they actually need).
I’m hoping for a gym membership or some yoga classes, or if I’m being really decadent, a massage or pedicure. All of these things employ people in our city, don’t bring more CPC into my house and help reduce my stress level. A haircut, a restaurant meal out or a voucher for some housecleaning services are other ideas that anyone could appreciate. Don’t forget about movie tickets — with the Salmar recently lowering prices there’s no more affordable time to share the gift of movies.
Give locally made gifts.
There are a whole host of art and craft fairs taking place in our city, and the vast majority help support local artisans who do not use CPC (cheap plastic crap, remember) in their products. These products also carry a uniqueness factor. No one else will be walking around town with that same scarf or be serving appies from the same pottery platter.
Make something yourself.
OK, I confess. I probably won’t do this.
I’m not good at crafts and baking for days doesn’t appeal. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate homemade presents or the effort that others put into creating them. My children’s handmade Christmas cards are a highlight of my Christmas morning and they are CPC-free.