money, shopping

Boxy Girls

I saw a commercial on TV while visiting a friend, and it stuck with me. And disgusted me a bit.

Or a lot.

Have you heard of Boxy Girls? (It’s an awful name I know, but clicking that link is SFW.)

These are dolls that come with 4 boxes of accessories for you to “unbox” with them.

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I know unboxing is a huge YouTube thing, and I’ve seen kids watch videos of other kids (or adults, yikes!) unboxing toys and getting excited about adding a bunch of plastic to their collections.

I don’t mean to be all down on people’s hobbies, but the whole concept of unboxing seems so heavily focused on consumerism and having more More MORE! And it’s disgusting. Why do you have to buy so much? What satisfaction do you get from recording these unboxings? What satisfaction do people get from watching these unboxings? I’ve tried, and have to stop when we hit the 2 minute mark and all I’ve seen is the box from all possible angles. JUST OPEN IT!

I understand being excited to open something. Hell, I got excited to open my monthly Subscribe & Save boxes, and they were just things like dish soap or cleaning products. But I never felt the compulsion to record these and make it like some great reveal meant to inspire envy in others. Now there is a toy you can buy (and unbox! since it’s “As Seen on TV”) and then unbox her boxes! Wait – would you record your unboxing of the doll, then record HER recording HER unboxing of the accessories? So meta.

If you want to watch unboxings on YouTube, why don’t you give Dylan Marron some views and exercise your brain?

holidays, home life, money

Happy Birthday!

My son is old enough to understand birthdays and be excited, but young enough to not really care about having a big to-do. (Or maybe he’s growing up to be just as anti-social as Mommy!)

Every time he wants something, he says he wants it for his birthday: new train track pieces; a new Thomas “roller coaster” track for those strange, pointless, tiny little trains; a trampoline. He doesn’t want everything he sees, but when he wants something, he remembers it. He will get a few things for his birthday – usually one gift per person, and only close family comes to the party – but I’m sure he will remember to ask for a trampoline for his next birthday, until I remind him that Christmas will come around before his next birthday. Then he will start the Christmas list.

When he gets gifts, he is very thankful for them. He thanks the giver (usually with prompting) and plays with the toys for a long time. Most of the toys he has work together, like the wooden train pieces that build together, and wooden trains to drive on them. Or the pointless tiny Thomas trains that link together for a parade, or zoom around on tracks that take batteries. Or cars and trucks… so many different cars and trucks! They fill one of his toy bins, but he seriously plays with ALL of them, so… they stay.

The birthday party itself is never a huge deal. He has friends at school but we don’t really do playdates or anything yet. We invite grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins, and our parties usually top out at 12 people – mostly adults. It’s always in the afternoon, post-nap, with snacks and cupcakes for the guests. I hate stressing over hosting major dinners and parties, so I like keeping them minimal. Napkins for the snacks, candy, and cupcakes, cups for punch, and that’s about it. Two hours of togetherness is perfect for kids the ages we have (about-to-be-4, 5, and 8) and they can play outside if it’s not rainy.

His party is right around the corner, and now that’s he’s older I’m eager to see how he will open the gifts on his own (he still had trouble last year) and thank the givers without prompting.

home life

Donating

Getting rid of clutter is great – your house looks clean, you realize it’s WAY bigger than it seemed with all that unnecessary junk, and you can appreciate what you have.

When I unpacked my storage shed after six months of traveling, I was astonished at how much stuff I had. I’d previously downsized, had garage sales, and given away stuff, but I still had so much. I was moving into a 2 bedroom duplex, but I still had too much stuff. Moving from that duplex into a studio apartment meant I had even more to give away.

I took so many clothes, trinkets, and household items to Goodwill. I support them because they give jobs to people with disabilities, and I’m passionate about that. There is some discrepancies with their salaries and mark ups, so I’m kind of torn on the whole issue.

I give books, music, and movies to the library. They have a used bookstore, and sometimes donated books even make it into the library’s collections. I don’t really know how much music and movies sell or circulate with everything available online, but I would rather give it to them since it’s something kind of specific. When I donate, I try to think about who needs the stuff and could use it best, and give them first dibs. If the library doesn’t want something, they can donate it elsewhere or recycle it.

I recently started giving pretty much everything to Catholic Charities – they give donations away for FREE to people who need it! That’s what I’m talking about. They prefer clothes and household items, so I donate our clothes, jewelry, bags, and kids’ toys. I recently got a new set of pots and pans so I gave them my old ones and they were thrilled! A family had asked about kitchen stuff the day before – I hope they came back and got it! The last time I donated, a family was there looking through things. They took a few of my son’s old toys and it made us so happy to see the kids smile.

I love taking my son with me when I donate so he sees what’s happening and what it means. He sees me taking bags and boxes to the car and asks “Are we donating?” He loves picking out toys he doesn’t play with anymore to donate. I hope that spirit stays with him as he gets older.