Copyright © 2002 Henrietta W. Hay
The Grinch, Toys, and Christmas
December 13, 2002
The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason....
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small?
Probably every American kid from 8 to 80 has memorized those words
written by Dr. Seuss back in 1957.
I generally feel a lot like the Grinch myself in early December, but
this year my friend the philosopher told me to knock it off and get
with it. She hauled me off to a toy store and we bought another toy
for each of the four children in the family she has adopted for the
Christmas season -- on my credit card, of course.
While we were there I thought I would check out the stock to see
whether there was a candidate for my "Annual Awful Taste in Toys
Award." Several years ago I started this prestigious award when I found
the Jesus doll at $29.95. According to the publicity, "He bends at the
waist, is machine washable and wears His heart on His tunic." I think
He offended the religious and the non-religious equally. His creator
(human) promised the Virgin Mary for the next year, but fortunately she
I think that particular toy will probably never be surpassed in bad
taste, so I have declared it the all time winner and will concentrate on
the good toys. And there were lots of them.
But if we stick to Santa Claus as the distributor of these wonderful
toys, we have a bit of a problem. Somebody on the Internet did some
math and came up with these figures. Assuming one small toy per kid
worldwide, the payload on Santa's sleigh would be roughly 321,300 tons,
plus Santa who is slightly overweight. Eating 4 million cookies in one
night will do that to you. Donder and Blitzen and their co-workers
can't do the job, since they are now over 15 years old. It would take
214,200 physically fit reindeer.
These figures are based on the premise that there is only one Santa
Claus. A thousand Santas (1 kilosanta) or a million Santas (a
megasanta) working in parallel could make it work. Santa is not dead.
He is distributed.
But whoever the distributor is, there are some great toys this year,
including all kinds of new electronic miracles.
I found myself wondering what toys I found under the tree when I was
6. What would my mother have thought of a modern toy store? Probably
the closest thing then would have been the toy departments of the big
department stores in Denver. Unfortunately that is too far back into
the dark ages for me to remember in much detail. But I do remember a
Raggedy Ann Doll that I finally wore out, and a set of Lincoln Logs with
which I must have built a thousand cabins -- one at a time, of course.
Until the advent of electronic toys, I do believe there were two basic
toys -- stuff to build with and stuff to hold and snuggle -- blocks
The stuff to build has grown from Lincoln Logs and Erector sets and
Tinker Toys to highly complicated construction kits which nearly require
an engineering degree to put together.
And the dolls are there in every size and color and costume. For years
I sneered at Barbie. I still think she sets a bad example for little
girls, but even Barbie is moving on. Her miraculous figure has not
changed in 40 years. That's what makes it miraculous. But this year
she is getting a new career. On her Web Page is a ballot asking the
cybernet viewers to vote for their favorite. Should Barbie be a
Librarian, an Architect or a Policewoman? One Denver librarian urged
the library network members to vote for Librarian. She added, "I hope
she's cool and hip." On the way out of the store, though, we saw a
Barbie piloting an airplane. I think I would draw the line at Barbie as
pilot, or at least take a later flight.
But with all the glamorous toys available, I suspect the kids have not
forgotten the basic ones. After all, my kids had things built out of
the boxes by Christmas night.
The toys did it. I finally found Christmas. So did the Grinch.
... he hadn't stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same.