I’ve heard it said before that Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are nothing more than “Hallmark holidays.” They are often accused of being days that exist solely for commercial purposes, created by companies to sell cards and flowers and candy.
While we all sit around debating the merit in these holidays, we parents are falling prey to the biggest racket ever to masquerade as a day of noble purpose and that day, my friends, is Show and Tell Day. I have fond memories from Show and Tell as a child. It was a day I could highlight my latest and greatest toy store aisle acquisition. Oh the joy in being the only little girl with the most coveted Popple or Care Bear. What I don’t remember quite as vividly, though I’m sure my mother does, is the aftermath.
As the mother of a new pre-schooler, I’ve learned to dread Friday evenings. It’s the evening in which my son can think and talk of nothing else but the things he has been shown and told. I simply marvel at his ability to memorize and then repeat seemingly endless facts on a range of products.
“Zhu Zhu Pets are a collection of adorable, furry, interactive hamsters, mom. My friend Jack has Chunk and PipSqueak, but I have to collect them all. The Zhu Zhu motorbike is sold separately. Alexis has that though and I want one too!”
“Write it on your Christmas list, Anders.”
“Wait, mom! I didn’t get to tell you about Tommy’s Super Friends Remote Control Joker Engine. It has an easy to use remote control and can go forward and in reverse. It comes with an action figure, but the batteries are not included. Don’t forget those when you buy it for me, mom!”
“Anders, do you have any money? If not I think you’re going to have to wait for a special occasion to acquire the items on your infinite list of wants.”
“Mom, this is for school. I think that means you have to buy it for me. You don’t want me to be unprepared for Friday’s Show and Tell, do you?”
Show and Tell, a time embedded into the school day in which we willingly send our children to school armed with the flashiest, most fantastical, piece of plastic in their arsenal, where they then showcase it to a room full of their impressionable peers and then take a seat to endure a similar speech a dozen or so times on an equally flashy and desirable product they may have been previously, blissfully unaware of when they left our homes that morning.
I’m onto you, toy companies.