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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hard To Find Gift

My son is seven, and in the last 4-5 months has developed a great interest in Bakugan. For those of you without a young boy, this is the latest craze. It's a kids' anime (Japanese animation) show on Cartoon Network (here in the States), and has a game to go along with it. The game involves plastic marble-like spheres and cards with metal inserts. You set the cards up in a pattern and each player rolls the Bakugan of their choice onto the cards. A magnet in the sphere is triggered by the metal in the card and the sphere springs open to reveal a particular character. Depending on the point value of the character combined with bonuses from the card, one person will win. And that's what my son is very heavily into right now.

In the past he has been a little bit behind the popular "thing", so getting gifts hasn't been difficult. Unfortunately, now he's managed to get on the curve of the most popular thing out there for boys his age. And as I'm sure you know, Christmas is only a little over three weeks away. What does he want for Christmas? Bakguan! So for the past week, my wife and I have been panicking because we couldn't find what he wanted anywhere. The shelves in the stores have been bare, many online retailers are out of them, and people online that do have them are selling them for 2-3 times the retail price.

Why is this important? Think back to when you were kids and how much you wanted a certain gift. Remember how disappointing it was not to get it? Or when your parents got you something they thought you would like but it wasn't exactly what you wanted? I have strong memories of a couple of times like that. My parents were great, and loved me very much. They were very generous, though I don't think I was spoiled. They really wanted to make me happy and get something that I had asked for, especially from Santa. Most of the time they did great. But a few times I was disappointed because they got me something other than what I had asked for. I'm not sure if it was because they didn't really understand, or because (like in my own current situation) they couldn't find it. But I remember those times over 25 years later. I don't want to do that to my own kids, so I go on the hunt.

Luck was with us today. Target (a competitor to Wal-Mart for those of you outside of the US) had just put out a brand new shipment of Bakugan sets today. And on a risk I called the closest Toys'R'Us and they had the last of another Bakugan toy he wanted. So we were able to get exactly what he asked for. The other things he wants are much easier to find (such as Star Wars Legos), so I think we have his Christmas set. Thankfully, my daughter isn't as picky. This year, that is.....

To all of the parents out have my sympathies. I'm discovering how hard it is to make your kids happy with gifts, and how important it is for the parents to get what their kids ask for. It makes me appreciate my own parents a bit more, and what they had to do to meet my own demands when I was young.