Family life

How far would you go to wow your kid?

News reports say parents are shelling out hundreds of dollars to get hot toys before Christmas Day, but Sandra recommends a reality check

By Sandra E. Martin
How far would you go to wow your kid?

Credit: Mishelle Lane

’Tis the season to be scrambling. Empty shelves are greeting many parents who’ve left their Santa shopping till the last minute, with hot toys sold out pretty much everywhere. Possibly No. 1 on the Most Wanted List this holiday season is the LeapFrog LeapPad, a kid-friendly, educational version of those tablets grown-ups are either constantly playing with, or lusting after. (Props to our Today’s Parent volunteer toy testers, who pegged this one early on; the LeapPad was one of our Wow! Top Toys in 2011.
The retail price of this toy is $110. Yet, according to a story this week on CityNews, resourceful peeps who shopped early have ratcheted up the price to as much as $200 and are offering their LeapPads on Kijiji.
One mom interviewed for CityNews said if she doesn’t find a LeapPad by Christmas, she’ll keep trying in the New Year.
I don’t know about you, but after looking in two or three stores and checking online retailers’ availability, I’d just give up. Sure, it’s great to be the hero on Christmas morning, but I also like to keep in mind the values I’m trying to teach my kids. For example, as they got ready to write their letters to Santa this year, I encouraged each girl to ask for only one thing. “You guys have a lot of toys already, and so many kids don’t have any. If you ask Santa for only one thing, that will let him give more to the kids who really need it.” I’m proud to say that my girls didn’t scoff or argue; they thought a bit, and they each asked for just one thing. Bronwyn requested a Crayola Crayon Maker and Isobel’s pick was a Blizzard Maker.
Of course, both were sold out when Matt hit the stores last Friday. Neither was to be found in the first store he tried. Or the second store. The third, a department store, didn’t have a toy department at that particular location. His BlackBerry messages were becoming more and more frantic.
Finally, he tried onnnnnnne more store. Jackpot: Both were in stock — he got the last Blizzard Maker they had.
But if he hadn’t found the toys at that last store? I don’t think we’d have pursued it. I would have had a talk with the girls about how Santa can’t always bring exactly what you want, but he will bring something he knows you’ll like. And that’s a great life lesson: You don’t always get what you ask for, but you should be happy for what you do get.
What would you do if your child’s top holiday toy was sold out everywhere — try to hit Kijiji, or use it as an opportunity for a life lesson? Share your thoughts below.
Also, I have a holiday gift for one lucky blog reader: Please sign in and leave a comment below telling us why your kid wants a LeapPad and you could receive one from Saving with Sandra!

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who commented!

Photo by Mishelle Lane via Flickr

This article was originally published on Dec 22, 2011

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