Thanksgiving is over. You can officially turn on your Christmas lights without people thinking you’re insane. It is the start of the holiday season. Once, in a moment of absolute insanity, I started out the season by going with my wife to the Black Friday sales. The atmosphere at the stores must have been similar to how Neanderthals fought for the last morsel of food during the Ice Age. There was biting and scratching and screaming and yelling. It was an animalistic scene where human beings devolved to the point where they lost their humanity and no longer resembled people with compassion and caring–and those were just the salespeople. (I swear a store greeter threw things at me. “You want a cart? Here’s your cart! And a basket! And a bag! HOW ABOUT SOME YOOHOO!” If it wasn’t for the bulging arms, thick bull neck and blue BORN TO BLEED tattoo, I would have reported her to the manager.)
Every year it seems a new fad in children’s toys comes along that every kid just has to have. I still remember a few years back when normally reasonable people were pushing and shoving like possessed zombies trying to get the last Tickle Me Elmo doll. What people found when they got them home was after the three or four thousandth time Elmo laughed, that cute little giggle started making fingernails on a blackboard sound good. Also a surprising flaw was found where Elmo’s head would be suddenly ripped off and flushed down a toilet.
This year I am told the in-toy is The Elf On The Shelf. This is a toy based on a story about one of Santa’s elves who sits on the shelf immobile all day watching the family, and when dark comes it moves. I saw the movie. It was called Child’s Play–you got to love that cute little elf, Chucky. If you can’t find The Elf On The Shelf anywhere, have your kids watch that movie. They’ll think differently about having a little elf sitting on the shelf watching them.
When I was young there were no fads for Christmas toys. The thing we had was a competition between my brothers and sisters as to who would get the biggest present. On Christmas morning we would look under the tree and there would always be one present bigger than the others. Sometimes that big box covered with brightly-colored Christmas wrapping paper would have my name on it. I would always open it slowly to heighten the envy of my siblings. On the few years when something was actually in the box, they were really jealous.
Just on a side note, the new movie Homefront seems a lot like my new book County Ops: The Vengeance of Gable Fitzgerald. I don’t know if that is good or bad. I guess it depends on how it does at the box office whether I mention it or not in promotions.