When it’s time for you to do your housework, do you have to clean up the toys scattered all over your basement, living room, family room and kids’ bedrooms before beginning to vacuum? I encourage you to look around your home and take stock of the mountains of toys your kids begged you for and have played with only once or twice. The holidays are around the corner … believe it or not, they’re only 8 weeks away. Have your kids been busy preparing their Christmas wish lists for weeks? Here are a few facts and figures for you: Today, about 2.6 billion toys are sold every year, creating a $20.3 billion dollar industry. Trust me, I understand. I was caught up in the buying frenzy when my kids were young too! If I had laid out the number of action figures and toy cars my kids owned in a row, they would have easily circled our home. And how many of those toys were regularly played with? There were a couple of their favourite action figures. You could easily pick them out because they were the most beaten up … missing legs and arms. The ones that looked brand new were the ones collecting dust in the corners of their bedrooms or on the bottom of the toy chests – unwanted and unloved. Toy makers are proficient at initiating new trends! When my kids were young, there were Pokémon cards, Crazy Bones and Beanie Babies. Today the latest must-haves are apparently the LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle ($129.99), the Fisher-Price Dance Star Mickey ($69.99), and Silly Bandz. Some of the other top rated toys this year have some rather unusual names: Sing A Ma Jigs, Pre Vizsla, Mez-Itz Beetle Juice, Zoobles, and the 12-inch Kick-Ass. The scary thing about a lot of this stuff is that it ends up in our landfill sites. Endless plastic toys imported from China! We all want our kids to feel the joy and excitement of Christmas morning. I’m not trying to be a Grinch. I’m just trying to remind everyone that this level of consumerism is unnecessary and unsustainable. At the end of the day, what will your kids remember the most? The fact that they owned every conceivable Barbie outfit or action figure or the time you spent together as a family playing a board game or building a snowman together during the holidays. What do you think? How much is too much?
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