It’s Christmas Eve and you’re still looking for that last perfect present for your younglings.
You’ve already arranged for a festive Christmas morning gravel dumping, and a handful of defunct electronic devices that your children sabotaged in the past year lay wrapped neatly beneath the tree, but you feel like there’s something missing. Something that will provide your children with that sense of wonderment and endless possibility that only the perfect gift can deliver.
And then you realize what it is, right there under your nose.
Well, actually, in your nose. And everywhere else.
The most inexpensive– and simplest — of the Cheap Christmas Gifts Kids Will Actually Play With is air, and it involves nothing more than closing an empty cardboard box, wrapping it, then waiting for the magic to ensue.
All parents have experienced that sense of bewilderment as they watch their kid cast aside that highly-sought-after (and often highly-expensive) toy on Christmas morning — the one thats acquisition involved bum-rushing the doors of Target at an ungodly hour and taking a fingernail file shiving to the kidney-region from an incensed, bargain-crazed grandmother and a liberal pepper-spraying from an over-zealous police officer outfitted in the season’s most stylish riot gear — to play with the three-cent box that kidney-costing toy came packaged in.
So why bother with the toy? The air that fills the empty space in that box will be just as gratifying to a young child.
However, if you really want to give the gift of nothingness, fill that empty box with packets of individually encased air in the form of bubble wrap, and you are going to provide off-the-charts joy. Just make sure that you have enough poppable packaging packets for each child in the family, because if you don’t, the fight they’ll have over who gets to squish them will make that Target toy aisle shopper scrum look like a friendly between opposing squads in the Mr. Rogers Soccer League for Passive and Abnormally Well-Mannered Children.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where you can get a really terrific box the day before Christmas, I hear that Target is having quite a sale on 72-inch flatscreen televisions.
Just don’t forget your body armor and safetly goggles.