Over the past two years, sometime in October, for a few hours, my mind switches to the latest trends in holiday gifts for children. I have no children. My nieces are now beyond the age for children’s toys. There one viable option remaining. We’re less than 10 days from our Special Gathering to benefit Toys For Tots!
Last year, finding Olaf from the movie ‘Frozen’ was a big deal (I found and bought 2) but there were the timeless choices of stuffed animals, a ball and glove set, a soccer ball, a bike with training wheels and a Barbie doll to be had. When I arrived at the cash registers last year, I mentioned the reason for the gift choices and they always brought smiles and confidence-instilling notes in favor of the toys on the conveyor belt.
This year, I feel like I’m ready. Maybe I’m walking into the toy stores and sporting goods stores with more swagger. In the spirit of Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino”, “Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have messed with? That's me.” I’m in the zone! It’s gift time! Oh yes, I forgot. What the heck do the kids like this year?
In “The Rookie”, Clint said, “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” Clint, this isn’t my first rodeo. Toaster? No, not here. Every gift must guarantee smiles this holiday season. Over the past few decades, the hottest thing one year is less hot the next. These days, “hot” may last longer in your toaster when it’s toasting but thankfully, we now have the internet to help us gauge the latest kiddo gift trends. After a few minutes of scanning, I discovered the popularity of Paw Patrol, BeatBo, Doc McStuffins and MeccaNoid. Wow? Where to start? As expected, the new toy world was a foreign world. The savior was more searching. Lego, Star Wars, Barbie and NERF? Wow, they’re still popular. The classics never die. OK, maybe they’re new spins on old-school products, but darn it, I continue to recognize a narrow segment of the toy shopping world. The Toys For Tots shopping swagger was back!
The next morning, which happened to be yesterday, I saw the light. [No, not just sunlight.] Make it simple. Old school is OK. Trendy is OK. Maybe mix it up. It’s all about a child’s smile. In “Sudden Impact”, Clint said, “Go ahead, make my day.” When it comes to the holidays, I hope to live up to those words…in a much more cheery sense…for the sudden impact.
“Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.” Clint said that too. I’m not sure if it came from a movie or it was from everyday life. Whatever the case, the quote hits the bullseye for everyone. It’s now your time. Clear the schedule for the morning of Saturday, October 17. Set your mind. Open you heart. It’s all for the disadvantaged children of Baltimore County. We’re creating smiles!