Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

November 30, 2012

Stick it to 'em this Christmas

By Rebecca Todd

— Ah, December. It's finally here. Most of us are rejoicing because, as we are reminded by countless television commercials, it's the hap, happiest time of the year. Others find it hard to celebrate since this is finally the fated month of the demise of civilization. If you are one of those people, I just want to mention that you are in such esteemed company as Tom Cruise, Shirley MacLaine, and Li'l Wayne. God bless you. Now stop reading because this column is not for you. I'm talking to the hap, happy people today. Yours is a story for another day.

So you're probably wondering what to get all the little ones on your Christmas list. Most of the little ones, if they are 6 months or older, probably want some kind of electronic gizmo that costs several hundred dollars. Rather than indulge them and attribute to their future societal dysfunction, why not present them with a classic gift; perhaps one that is in (cue trumpet intro), The National Toy Hall of Fame.

The National Toy Hall of Fame, established in 1998, "recognizes the contributions of toys and games that have sustained their popularity for many years." Criterion for induction includes icon-status, longevity, and innovation. It currently resides in the Strong National Museum of Play ("The Strong") in Rochester, N.Y.

As of this year, 51 toys have made it into (there go those trumpets again) The National Toy Hall of Fame. Among them are some that you would expect: a kite, a ball, a baby doll, playing cards, and a Frisbee, to name just a few. There are also some much beloved favorites such as Barbie, Lincoln Logs, Monopoly, and inducted this year, Star Wars figures.

Then there are the, shall we say, unusual items in the Hall of Fame. Among them are a blanket, a cardboard box, and a stick. Yes, I said a stick.

According to (trumpets again) The National Toy Hall of Fame, "Children find sticks an endless source of make-believe fun. Sticks can turn into swords, magic wands, majorette batons, fishing poles, and light sabers. When children pretend with sticks, they cultivate their creativity and develop their imaginations."

Well, okay; I guess all of that is true. However, if a stick is going to make the cut, what about, gee, I don't know, everything else in the world? Isn't that the case with every single object when you are a kid? Isn't that the beauty of childhood? Everything is anything when you're a child.

But here's the plan. Every child on your list should get a stick. Think how thrilled they will be. It can be anything! It's the ultimate gift. According to (the trumpets are really getting old) The National Toy Hall of Fame, "Sticks are not only possibly the oldest toys, they're possibly the best!"

How can you go wrong with that? I say you can't. In fact, the stick has me so intrigued, I'm calling it sticks all around this year. Heck, what makes an adult feel as good as a toy that reminds them of their youth. I can just imagine the joy on my daughters' faces when they check their stockings this year.

You know what? Just because I'm feeling so hap, happy this year, I'm going to go ahead and send sticks to Tom, Shirley, and Li'l for Christmas this year. You know, on the off chance that we actually have one.

- Rebecca Todd is a freelance writer and the author of the book "What's the Point" available at booklocker.com. Contact her at btodd@tds.net.