Swallowed by Christmas

Forgive me for disappearing for 8 weeks.  You see, I was swallowed by the Moby Dick that is Christmas.

One of my friends described it perfectly. There is something “delightfully Grinchy” about putting away the Christmas décor.  (I know my heart grew three sizes that early January day!) The rooms were reclaimed, the clutter started to dissipate and that Clorox clean feeling of order took over the house.

Of course, I looooooove Christmas. And every year, I find myself trying to love it just a squeeze more — knowing so well that the years I have with my children truly believing in the magic of Christmas morning will fly by like a Concorde to London.

I had a blissful holiday this year — replete with an early December trip to Disney, the fun of a little toddler starting to really “get it,” the lighted faces of children who were happy with Santa’s attention to detail, incredible gatherings with family and friends, great breakfasts and dinners, visits with brand-new babies, hot cocoa with peppermint sticks and marshmallows, bright red cardinals on snow-covered trees and an incredible set of pearls (shout out to the husband, who knows that deep down I have this innate desire to be either Barbara or Laura Bush).

Blessings abundant. Blessings galore.

But of course, I can’t resist offering my snarky commentary on just one facet of the Christmas That Just Was.

I would like to publicly declare that American Girl, LLC, a “wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel,” should be investigated as a form of highly organized domestic terrorism.

The Pip and The Chinchilla entered the dreaded vortex of American Girl intrigue this year. They frantically scribbled the dolls (and accessories) of their dreams at the top of Santa’s list — seconds after perusing the pages of the glossy crack that these marketing geniuses bitches sent.

I can’t put into words my disdain for American Girl. I envision their corporate board to be comprised of Kathie Lee Gifford, Heidi Montag, Omarosa from The Apprentice, Ursula the Sea Witch, Bernie Madoff (in proxy), Cruella de Vil, Celine Dion, Jerry Springer, the ghost of Pontius Pilate, Mr. Burns from The Simpsons and a flock of crows from Hitchcock’s The Birds.

And boy, do they have moms down to a science.

They know the competition. Hell, they OWN the competition (hello, Barbie?!?!?!) They know that mothers of little girls can’t resist wholesome imagery in a world of inked-up Moxie “girlz,” Bratz bimbos and real-life “role models” who either text nude photos of themselves to Zac Efron or head to rehab for drugs and/or supremely odd self-injurious behavior. They know the dearth of options we mothers face, and they meet our needs out of the kindness of their warped hearts with pleasant plastic role models in a variety of ethnicities, historical time periods and appropriate outfits.

The evil minds of American Girl not only know the competition, but also know the deepest fears of today’s moms, who grew up on Little House on the Prairie re-runs. American Girl masterminds effectively tap into our propensity to hearken back to our own childhoods as we’re faced with the daunting task of ensuring that someone else’s romp through youth is equally as blissful.

I can almost hear the sinister snickers of American Girl designers in their studios:

“These tragically boring losers would pay any amount of money for a Laura Ingalls Wilder-type pioneer girl. Braid that one’s hair, throw a bonnet on her and make sure we offer a blind sister to go with her. Done. Charge 10% extra for the blind sister. Don’t forget the separate tie-string aprons with ruffles for $40 each — $60 for personalization. And you know what? Make sure we offer a complete general store with real wooden floorboards and sawdust for $500. Jackpot!”

Lastly, and most vile, they take, exploit and monetize the power of a child’s wish. They know that a mother will do anything to fulfill the hopes of her daughter. And so, they hold moms hostage in their sick and twisted toy box of control and manipulation.

They rarely, if ever, discount their $100 dolls. Despite having the gall to charge one full Benjamin for painted plastic, they only throw the “free shipping” bone twice a freakin’ year. (Because moms have NOTHING else to do with their lives than lay in wait for the American Girl e-mail blast that bequeaths free shipping upon them like manna from the Gods).

All mine for a cool $100

And if those two layers of craptastic cake weren’t enough, American Girl fondants that shiz and drizzles some bonus oppressive sprinkles on top in the form of “extras.” Extra outfits for the doll ($24-$36). An outfit in case I want my little pumpkin to match her doll ($58). A doll wheelchair to demonstrate how very politically correct my family is ($36). A blinged-out carrying case so dolly doesn’t get dirty and travels in style ($58). A “Clean Skin Kit” for dolly just in case she’s not in the carrying case and develops unsightly blackheads ($18). Eyewear for when dolly’s glaucoma sets in ($8/pair). A bed for dolly since there’s simply no more room in my toddler’s sleeping quarters without causing discomfort to both dolly and child ($65-$185). A Palomino horse to keep dolly company when my daughter tries to have a life goes to school ($75). And naturally, a trunk ($159) — for dolly’s wheelchairs, facial kit, expansive wardrobe, bifocals, Blackberry, live-in boyfriend, three babies, Palomino horse and RV — that nestles tightly to the foot of her custom bed.

And just in case I haven’t flushed enough of my money down the dollhouse toilet, I can fulfill a life-long dream to transport dolls, any aforementioned trinkets belonging to the dolls and two young, rambunctious children on a round-trip excursion to New York ($300) to spend a lovely day at Satan’s lair the American Girl Place flagship store. There, we’ll be treated to meals ($60-$100), while our dolls receive spa treatments, ear piercings or new hairstyles. The po$$ibilitie$ are endle$$. (And let’s not pretend one leaves American Girl Place without buying more outfits, accessories, souvenir whiskey flasks, etc.)

But the truth is, the Pip and the Chinchilla truly LOVE these dolls (without all the accessories, furniture and nonsense that I refuse to buy). There hasn’t been a day that’s passed since December 25 that those dolls haven’t been loved to pieces by their mommies. I just wish American Girl would have the same love for me that my little girls have for their new, adorable companions.

Show me the respect I deserve for shelling out my hard-earned cash. Take a page from the Book of Zappos or the Book of Amazon and offer free shipping on all purchases. Offer a few coupon codes for God’s sake. Thank me for a doll purchase with a generous discount coupon that I can use when I make my pilgrimage to mecca an American Girl Place location.

Stop being doll bullies.

It’s enough abuse of power to ruin Christmas.

Naaaaaaaah.

But it’s enough to derail a blog for eight weeks :).

One Comment

  1. Jen Gross
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    So true and I love it !

    Does that mean you don’t want to join us on a bus trip to New York with a stop at American Girl in May? I insisted the trip include something educational and we are going to the statue of liberty first. The American Girl restaurant is really pretty cool and not that expensive for a NY meal and the kids love it. A few spots left – let me know !!!

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