Mums on the mum forums tend to get rather excited by the toy sales. K Mart,Target and Big W all have toy sales at this time of year. Mothers line up to get their children the toys they want, and put those toys on lay by for Christmas. Then line up to retrieve the toys on Christmas Eve.
The toys sales and our family have little to do with each other. My kids are kind of past the toy phase of early childhood. They don't need any more toys. For gifts I've been giving them gifts of experience or activities, like going to a show or having lessons. I'll buy them books and cds (we know where to store them in our home.) I feel like we have already had most types of toys (most we got second hand) and I've already given those toys away to friends with younger children or to the op shops. I should add we don't have electronic games, ipods or Wii - we just aren't on that page.
I did, however, pick up a catalogue from one of the shops and the children looked through it. What I noticed (aside from how gendered the presentation of toys are) is that the toys are now cheaper than they were five to ten years ago. How is that possible? What cost is not being factored into the equation? When we know that the earth's resources are limited (most of the materials are made from oil based products), and the conditions for factory workers in China (and yes, all these toys are made in China), what does that mean? Does it mean we don't care so long as we can buy our kids toys cheaply?
We can apply to same questions to clothes. Clothes are cheaper to buy now than they were five to ten years ago. How is that possible? Will that change with the introduction of a carbon tax? I hope so.
An article on how inaction on climate change will affect our children here.