An interesting thing happened upon opening our Hanukkah presents a few days ago… our son and daughter were given cute, if somewhat wacky, slippers from a relative who knew that we do our best to avoid visible, overt characters and brands on our toys. When we looked, however, we realized that the slippers were Hello Kitty and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We were surprised, needless to say!
Our kids had no idea who the turtles were, and when we asked the relatives later, they didn’t realize that either were “characters”; they thought that the slippers were “cute turtles” and “kitties”.
We don’t have Barbie dolls, Pokemon trading cards, Star Wars collectibles, Spiderman pajamas, or any of the other deitrius of modern brand aware toys in our house. But we don’t want to be fascists about it either. Our desire is easy to explain though: we want to let our children enjoy toys for their playability, not because of coordinated marketing campaigns and million dollar child manipulation efforts by corporations.
What’s a modern attachment parenting, Waldorf educating couple to do?
We took a deep breath and decided not to worry about these slippers. If our 4yo son G- wants to think of them as goofy turtles (which is what they look like anyway) and our relatives continue to see them as cute little turtle slippers, then that’s what they are.
The Hello Kitty slippers are a bit more tricky because our 8yo definitely knows the brand, as it happens. But we’re watching and waiting. As with many new acquisitions around the holidays, they’ll likely fade in importance and by the spring be in our giveaway box, no arguments, no hassles, just the way it goes…
How do you handle it in your household, if you get presents that “cross the line” and aren’t the kind you want your kids to be playing with?