Finally, Black Friday!
Hopefully you were sleeping off the aftereffects of a wicked turkey bender and missed it entirely.
Because if you’re like me, going to Wal-Mart at any time on any day is a black occasion — dark, depressing, likely to induce eye-twitching and mass alcohol consumption regardless of the hour – so the prospect of banging carts down the aisles with hundreds of bargain-crazed spenders at midnight racing to claim the last Bieber Me Elmo (voice raises two octaves/ sings, “Baby, baby, baby, no…” repeatedly) isn’t appealing.
And it’s unnecessary.
Kids lose interest in those “hot” holiday toys in less time than it takes them to decide they have to go to the bathroom after you’ve put their snowsuits on.
So this Christmas, get your kids gifts they’ll actually play with, and, as an added bonus, are inexpensive. It’s a win-win, like Jello shots.
Here’s the first of five gifts that have staying-power.
A Pile of Gravel
This one’s so easy you’ll feel like you’re cheating: call a local construction materials supplier, order a load of gravel, have it dumped in front of your house, set a ribbon on top, and prepare to be voted awesome-sauce parent of the neighborhood by a landslide.
This is perfection on so many levels. One, a big-ass dump truck is going to deliver the goods, and kids go bananas for that type of thing. Two, it’s dirt cheap. You can get a literal ton of road base (sand/gravel mix) for like $20. Number three, nobody’s going to steal it, because when adults look at a pile of gravel, they know they’re looking at a pile of work.
But for whatever reason, when kids lay eyes on a pile of gravel, they see a pile of opportunity. I’ve witnessed our own children sit and sift for the better part of entire days in search of they-know-not-what, but that doesn’t seem to deter them in the least. Maybe it’s because kids still have that innocent, naive optimism where they believe that if they keep digging deeper and deeper, they’ll eventually unearth something magical and meaningful in what otherwise appears to be a massive mound of nothingness.
It’s similar to an adult’s justification for watching any of the Real Housewives franchises.
And if your children do start to lose interest in the pile, you simply plant a few coins near the surface, pick one out and yell, “OMG! A whole quarter!” and the kids’ll start digging again with the gusto of amateur archeologists.
Plus, they’ll have hundreds of thousands of rocks to wash, and we all know how much kids love that.
Next time on Cheap Christmas Gifts Kids Will Actually Play With, we’ll take a look at all of those junk electronics you have sitting around the house.
While we’re on the subject of kids, head over to Stuff Kids Write and check out “Holy Gwockomoly: This Birthday Card is Be. A. Utiful.” The 7-year-old author of this piece is my nephew. He’s a character. You’ll see.