It’s become a standard yuletide tradition: every year without fail, there’s one particular toy on practically every child’s Christmas wish list. It’s also a toy that starts out at one price, but once retailers figure out how priceless that toy is to your child, they shamelessly increase it as high as they can and beyond. Not only that, but the toy becomes about as hard to find as five minutes of peace during the holidays.
It all starts off innocently enough; your child tells you at least a month in advance exactly what he wants for Christmas. It’s all he ever talks about and it’s all you hear about. You even contemplate buying the darned thing and giving it to him early just to shut him up, but you don’t. However, by the time you finally do start shopping for “The Most Wonderful Toy of the Year,” you can’t find it anywhere.
Little did you know, other kid in the universe also wants that toy for Christmas. So now you—and eight million other crazed, harassed parents who started shopping too late—are in an extremely non-festive frenzy to find this elusive item that’s seemingly no longer available anywhere. Then when and if that ridiculous piece of crap does become available someplace, you’ll have to beat each and every one of those other parents to it; kicking, clawing, and fighting, all the way. Ho-ho-ho, Merry Christmas.
After spending every waking moment in pursuit of this thing, you miraculously find it online. You literally jump for joy, spilling your coffee all over the Christmas cards you finally got around to making out. But that’s okay because you’ve found The Most Wonderful Toy of the Year. It’s five times the original price but hey, they’ve guaranteed you it’ll be there before Christmas. You’re finally set; the maddening quest is over. Let peace and joy reign throughout the rest of the season.
Two days later in a store, you actually lay eyes on The Most Wonderful Toy of the Year—several of them in fact—for the incredible deal of only twice the original price. But no, you’ve already bought one and it’s on its way to your house. Life is good.
Later that day and receive an email from the company which sold you the toy. They regretfully—but cheerfully—inform you that The Most Wonderful Toy of the Year is currently on backorder, and won’t be shipped out till mid-January. They conclude their correspondence by wishing you and yours the absolute merriest of Christmases. How nice—and so much for their guarantee.
Frantically, you rush back to that store you saw The Most Wonderful Toy of the Year in, grateful you stumbled across it there as you can’t even begin to imagine the nightmare you’d have to go through otherwise. At lightning speed, you stampede back to that part of the store where you saw the toy, only now it’s nowhere to be seen. You sprint to the customer service desk where an employee informs you that just this very moment they sold the last one, as they point behind you to some lady exiting the building. You look over your shoulder to see a smugly satisfied, evil witch making her way out of the store with The Most Wonderful Toy of the Year.
You briefly consider barging after her, grabbing it from her grubby little mitts and making off with it—contemplating that if the judge was also a parent she might very well let you off on a temporary insanity plea. Yet you just stand there stewing over the fact that if you’d only been there five minutes earlier you could’ve been that smugly satisfied, evil witch walking out with The Most Wonderful Toy of the Year.
Later, you spend the entire night scouring the internet, hoping beyond all hope to find another one of these stupid toys somewhere else. Then, you see it! There it is! For the downright bargain price of only seven times what it was originally selling for. Yet you’re more than happy to pay it, as by this point you’d sell your own grandmother to a mad scientist to get that toy. So you pay the unearthly price, breathe a huge, satisfied sigh of relief, put your feet up, and watch the sunrise.
Full of Christmas cheer—even though you got no sleep whatsoever—you greet your child warmly when he comes down to breakfast that morning. You ask if he’s excited that Christmas is only a few days away, to which he says he is, but also divulges to you that he’s changed his mind entirely about what he wants for Christmas.
Taken from my book Christmas Madness, Mayhem, & Mall Santas: Humorous Insights into the Holiday Season.