Tuesday, 4 January 2011

By The Way - All I want for Christmas is ...

This Christmas instead of surprising her like I normally do, I decided to just ask my five year old daughter, Alexis what she would like for Christmas. So I dutifully handed her the Toys R Us ‘Great Christmas Book’ with its gazillions of hottest toys and asked her to pick three items and the deal was that I would buy her favourite item.

I silently kicked myself after that, asking myself what I had set myself up for but it was too late to take back the offer. Well, ok a quick glance through the book confirmed that the most expensive toy was a Playstation 3 costing about HK$2,200 (S$400) and she was unlikely to want that as we already have a Wii so I consoled myself that at most I would end up spending about HK$1000 (S$100) if she was really going to take advantage of the situation. And since she is my only baby … what is a hundred bucks at Christmas (at least I hoped that would be the extent of the damage!)

To be sure, I checked back with her a couple of hours later just before we left for the Toys R Us store on what her 3 choices were and I was surprised and almost ashamed at myself for not realising that value is not what makes a 5 year old happy. 5 year olds have no concept of value and that is the beauty and the innocence of childhood something that we have all forgotten along the way.
What makes a 5 year old happy is ‘HEART’! Her three choices were a Pony Barnyard from My Little Pony (HK$139 or SG26), a Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster that squeaks and roller skates (also around the same price range) and Googly bands! And her top pick (she proudly announced) were GOOGLY BANDS? What in the world were ‘googly bands’? They turned out to be colourful rubber bands in a packet of 12 each that bounce back into the shape of animals, objects, cars, trees or virtually anything when you stretch them out. They are worn as rings, bracelets or can be woven into necklaces or just simply used as rubber bands for your hair and the total value of one packet of 12 bands – the grand sum of HK$12 or S$2.40. Her request was to buy her two packets of those and surprise her by not telling her the design. I asked her if she was “sure” and she said ‘yes’ with great certainty and wide eyed glee, fully convinced that this was better than the Barnyard and the Hamster. I was touched .. such is a child’s heart.

I got her the two packets and of course along the way (just before Christmas) bought her a few small things, a very pretty bejewelled pendant necklace with an owl on it (cost me about S$20) that she chose from a street store in Taiwan because she thought it was “big girl” jewelry and  a “spork” (cost about S$5) a cross between a spoon and a fork with a cerated edge that allows you to cut things, which she has insisted on bringing out with her, everyday since when we dine out. Thrilled by these simple pleasures she has also been on the internet searching You Tube to watch tutorials of how to make a necklace with her googly bands.
I guess the point I take from all this is that childhood is about fulfilling and enjoying the simplest of  pleasures, not for what they cost but for what they are . Grand gestures, though well meaning have no place or value to a child. The heart wants what the heart wants and that is as simple as it takes to be happy!

I plan to bring that into the year ahead so have a Happy Start to the New Year everyone … I know, I will!

- Elaine


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