53. A Christmas Made in China

53. A Christmas Made in China

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

A Christmas Made in China

I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.

~Bernard Manning

I can’t wait for Christmas. There is nothing like seeing your small children bursting with excitement, running to the Christmas tree and tearing open their presents. However, I am a veteran mom now. My children are older. I still love watching their excitement but they try to hide it a little. This is because they are teenagers and to admit such excitement is uncool.

When they were young I made an error in judgment. I wrapped the presents. Isn’t that the best part? Opening the presents? Why yes, it is. Except that children’s presents usually come with instructions that say, “Some assembly required.” I’m sure whoever wrote the word “some” laughed hysterically while doing so.

Picture the scene: My twin two-year-old daughters and three-year-old son running to the Christmas tree and tearing open the wrapped gifts, all of them bursting with excitement to play with the toy in the box. They tear into the box and guess what? The insides of the box do not look like the picture on the box. Then there is crying. “Hurry! Hurry! Mom! Dad! Put it together! Hurry!” The words come out of all of them at the same time.

So in the aftermath of that year, I sat down to gather my thoughts. And I decided I am going to China. I am going to China to find the persons responsible for my misery. I know they live there because they stamp where they live on their paraphernalia: “Made in China.”

I am going to find the people who package children’s toys and torture them. Not like making-them-watch-reality-TV torture. Just a little packaging karma will do. I will take these people, put them in a cell, and tie them up. Oh, no, not with rope. With little silver twisties. A whole bunch of them. The kind you can’t get off when you try to separate the gift from its cardboard backing.

I will not just tie their arms and legs either. I will twist them around the waist, neck, ankles, and any other place on the bodies I feel might slightly sway in the wind.

Will I give those twisties a twist once, twice? Of course not! I will twist them 300 times each. Then I might twist those together for good measure. I will leave one of their hands untwisted so they can spend eternity untwisting each other. If they have long hair, I will sew a plastic strip in it.

I will then put 3,000 two-year-olds in the cell with them. While they are untwisting forever, the two-year-olds will whine, “Hurwie yup! Hurwie yup!” over and over. If they do manage to untwist themselves before going insane, I will allow a way out of the cell. The door to the cell will be screwed on by tiny little Phillips-head screws. A whole bunch of them. I will give them all Phillips-head screwdrivers to unscrew the door to freedom. But its head will be too large for the tiny screws.

I will provide a map for an escape route… because I have a heart. There are 4,000 parts to it. Actually 3,999; one part is missing but they won’t know that until they are almost finished. Here’s the instruction book on how to put it together. They can see how the finished product is supposed to look on page 1250, after step 601. When they are done putting together the map, they will notice it doesn’t look quite like the picture on the box. That’s because they haven’t put the stickers on it. Here are the 785 stickers. Where do they go? I think that instruction manual will be accidentally left out. Sorry.

For their entertainment, I will put a TV in their cell. The TV takes twenty D-sized batteries. They will have nineteen. And Teletubbies is on just about now. I’ll mention that to the two-year-olds. I will leave them some food in the cell. It will be shrink-wrapped in molded plastic that neither teeth, hands, nor feet can tear open. I might put some Goldfish crackers in there too and let those horrible people hear the two-year-olds yelling “FRISH FRISH!” for eternity. I will leave some unwrapped toys out for the kids to play with — I’m not a monster. Oh, but after the toys do something really cool one time, they will break. The kids will cry—a lot. So sorry. The other toys that I leave in the cell will have 1,000 parts per toy. Pieces will get lost. The terrible people will live in eternity looking for the dolly’s lost red shoe. It is 1/8 inch x 1/8 inch. The kids will cry until it is found.

We laugh about this now that my kids are grown. These days they ask for just one present. They tell me exactly what to buy. It is electronic. It is expensive and I don’t know what it does. But they are happy, even though they still try to hide it so as to appear cool. And I am happy.

~Shannon McCarty

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