Saturday, December 24, 2011

So This Is Christmas

It's struck me as a very un-Christmas-y holiday season this year: no snow, plenty of green grass, overcast, rainy days interspersed with sunny ones.

Fewer decorations on houses, too. While Christmas retail sales are up compared to last year, they're not what they were before '08. People (with the exception of a few protesters bitterly holding out) appear resigned to things being bad and staying that way.

--And yet, consider the one-percenters who've been paying off layaways at various stores across the country: kindliness and beneficence are not dead and if people appear a little more distracted this year than they have in the past, it's probably because they're either working, or looking for work.

Me, I struck a blow for (new-fangled) tradition; at my extended-family Christmas, held last week to avoid schedule conflict, my great-niece and great-nephew* received, respectively, a nice fat Amazon gift certificate (she's an insatiable, Kindle-carrying reader) and a mechanical construction set very much in the Gilbert mold. (Speaking of Erector sets...!) And that's the best fun of Christmas for me; in too-few years, they'll be all grown up and anything their spinster aunt could give 'em would be impossibly uncool or misaimed.
* Or whatever they are, English being, er, "relatively" deficient. The offspring of my sister's oldest son and his wife.


Bubblehead Les. said...

I believe the lack of Christmas Lighting is due to those people wanting to save a few bucks on the Electric Bill. Can't say I blame them. Any way, Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Dave H said...

Sounds like you're on your way to being the "cool aunt" to that generation. I have a friend who's the cool uncle - no kids of his own, but he absolutely dotes on his nieces and nephews. He brings them unique games and movies for Christmas, things their parents wouldn't think of getting because they're too busy chasing the American dream. (He highly recommends Settlers of Catan. It's simple enough for the kids to play but engaging enough for the grownups.)

I hope you and Tam, and all your families, have a happy and comfortable Christmas.

Dwight Brown said...

Most honored and respected Ms. X:

Would you be willing to share specifics about that mechanical construction set? Was it an actual Erector set (do they still even make those any more? It seems to me that the last ones I saw looked kind of crummy.) or something else?

It is a little late this year, but the youngest of my sister's three boys is approaching the point where that's probably a great gift for him. (I bought the oldest boy a version 1 Lego Mindstorms a while back, and have been thinking off and on about buying the latest version for that one.) Then there's my brother's two older kids, who I don't think are quite there yet but are approaching the right age...

So, yeah, anyway, gift idea I can file away for next year. Thanks.

Tango Juliet said...

Cool! I loved my Erector sets. And Legos. And Lincoln Logs. And the visible V-8.

Roberta X said...

Dwight, the set is sold by Garret Wade in two sizes, as "Classic Italian-Made Construction Sets." They're not cheap, but as Erector and Meccano set collectors will probably tell you, they last several lifetimes if kept from the damp.

North said...

Merry Christmas!

Montie said...

Oh, how I loved my erector sets (early 60's) in my pre-teen years. I saved quite a few toys, but have never been able to locate, at my parents house, any parts to my several Erector Sets. My grandkids love Legos and I just know they would be fascinated by them.