It was about 28 years ago now around this time that I learned to hate the accursed box.
Oh yes, the box.
The box that measured about 12"x5"x3".
For I had many boxes like that before and knew what was in that accursed box.
For 28 years ago I was 4 years old and right about this time in December the gifts started showing up under the Christmas tree and naturally you could pick them up and shake them to see what contents may be therein. But I had learned when I was 3, maybe even 2 to hate that 12x5x3 box, even if it was wrapped with surgical precision.
For I knew what was in the box.
For in the box was a sweater.
Or a shirt.
The standard 12x5x3 inch box that you got at JCPenny's for a single article of clothing.
The standard 12x5x3 inch box that you got at Sears for a pair of pajamas.
And there I sat in 1979, looking at another box with the exact same dimensions under the tree. Hoping it would be something different.
And so I pressed on the box.
A smooshy 12x5x3 inch box, wrapped with surgical precision confirmed my worst fears;
I was getting another sweater for Christmas.
Now I've carried this memory throughout my childhood and into my adult years. For I think childhood is special. It cannot be repeated. It is innocent. And though the forces of life have turned me into a cynical, cryptic man, I have not forgotten the sanctity of childhood and therefore try never, NEVER EVER to forget what it was like being a child.
This is why, in an ironic sense, I do great with little children. Because I remember what it was like being a kid and not getting what you want. I remember looking at my parents and relatives with a look of disbelief as to the sheer number of sweaters I would get and no toys. I remember the basic, simple common rule of childhood, CHILDREN WANT TO HAVE FUN, THEY DON'T WANT TO BE RESPONSIBLE, GROWN UP ADULTS AND (are you ready for the kicker?)
ESPECIALLY DURING CHRISTMAS!!!!
So I am going to provide a little bit of advice to all of you parents out there who are so foolishly daring to think of buying your children something that comes in a 12x5x3 inch box.
Don't do it.
Things that come in 12x5x3 inch boxes are your responsibility of being a parent for the other 364 days in a year. If you had the child, you are to clothe and feed and shelter it. That is a STANDARD responsibility. You literally might as well buy your kid an apple or some cereal and wrap it up and present it to them for Christmas. For 364 days a year, food, clothing and shelter are a given and just come with the territory of having a kid.
that 1 day, known as Christmas, dare you be so stupid and cheap to buy your kid clothes I swear by all that is Halo and Call of Duty 4 when I am king I will make it a crime punishable by death to buy a child clothing for a Christmas gift.
10 out of 10 children according to the American Dental Association prefer toys over clothes.
Another study put out by Super NASA Harvard scientists concluded 100% of children would prefer to have toys than a sweater for Christmas (with a +/- 0% margin of error).
Or cash. Cash is good too.
So, mothers, fathers and all gift purchasing relatives, lend me your ears. Make it a merry Christmas. Take all your 12x5x3 inch boxes and hide them away for a day that is not a holiday. And instead go out and buy your children toys. They'll thank me for it, they'll love you for it, and they are 68% more likely to visit you in a nursing home when you are old and decrepit.