I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I'm happy to report that although it's been warm and rainy all week here in Southern Ontario, it is actually snowing this morning! We'll see how long it lasts.
Our Christmas was nice, although unfortunately we all had a light touch of the stomach flu all week, which meant we couldn't visit with family, which was disappointing.
We had another disappointment, one which taught us a lesson. Regular readers of this blog will know that we love handmade gifts. We try to make them, we try to buy them. And we sell our handmade toys on Etsy. Handmade gifts are, in my opinion, better quality and almost always more special.
However, there are times when it seems that a store-bought gift would fit the bill. This Christmas, for example, we bought a remote control monster truck for Owen. Now, we normally don't buy toys like this, especially ones that require constantly buying new batteries. But our son had been asking for one of these for quite some time now. So we decided to buy it, and felt pleased when we imagined how happy he would be on Christmas morning.
We should have known better, of course. I thought that spending $60 on a toy would mean it would be decent quality...but this thing was total junk. It broke literally within minutes of being taken out of the box--it would go forward but would no longer steer side to side. It's going back to Sears; Owen is understandably upset. All the more so because last year the small remote control truck my sister bought him also broke on Christmas day--it literally fell apart, the wheels fell off and everything. That one was much cheaper though, so I thought we would be safe this time.
We are really disgusted that even a $60 toy can't last a single day, even a single hour without breaking. But lesson learned. We are going to be much more careful about what goes under the tree next year. Every Christmas, we try to squeak through just one or two toys mass-produced in a factory overseas, and every time the item has ended up breaking within a week. (The only exception we have found are the metal Thomas trains, which actually hold up well to extended play. But the important thing to note is they are not plastic.)
It's really sad, because I can imagine how many little children across North America are heartbroken already because their new Christmas toys broke immediately. And all of those broken toys will end up in a landfill, after having served no purpose but to disappoint a child (and to make profit for someone somewhere.) Chris and I both agree that it seems unfair to the children of today. When we were growing up back in the 1980s, toys were much better quality and our Christmas presents could be expected to last.
I don't want to be too negative--we had a lovely Christmas, we ate a lot of good food and laughed a great deal too. I just wanted to share this lesson about consumer goods that we apparently needed to learn one more time!
I was surprised with a handmade gift I was not expecting - Chris made me a maple cutting board with a trough, for carving roast meat. I was so pleased! I have wanted one like this for some time, and this one is so thick and sturdy I imagine it will last forever.
I also was blessed with two books which I enjoyed from the public library, and wanted to add to my own shelf: The Self Sufficient Gardener and The Art of Simple Food. I'm so happy about both of these books, which I love.
Today, it feels like Christmas is really over because Chris is back to work. I'm going to spend the day cleaning and putting things back to rights. Perhaps that doesn't sound like too much fun, but I'm looking forward to it!
Warm holiday wishes to all my readers around the globe...