Christmas Toys

Has a question.

I work in retail and as everyone knows (at least in America) the Christmas Toys are starting to show up on the shelves. Well I was the person for the new Plan-o-Gram for the Christmas toys for this year. The store I work in is considered small compared to most. This may play a part in it. I know I will be looking in other toys this year to see this same pattern I am about to share with you. The thing that really bothered my about the Christmas toys the most was the boys toys. about 70% of their toys were nothing but military toys and guns( mostly guns). Yes I know boys play with guns and honestly that does not bother me, but the fact that the boys Christmas toys were such a high percentage of guns and war. Maybe it is just me noticing because I have been so involved with reading up on ISIS and what America should be doing and praying for the Middle East about the problems ISIS is creating. Or perhaps it is because we are in war so they are just making more war related toys. In the past I have not really noticed many guns and military toys for boys Christmas Plan-O-Grams until Bush invaded Iraq (and again perhaps I didnt notice before until war was in the media so much) but never have I seen such a high percentage on the set up. It just personally bothers and wondered if anyone else noticed and was bothered by the percentage of Boys Christmas toys being machine guns and bombs.

NOTE: I am not complaining about boys or children playing with guns.

Are you asking what the alternative ought to be?

We tried to get our children something each year that would be an unexpected surprise. What that would be will depend on the children and what they like to do.

Headlamps. These are very fun for playing in dark parts of the house or playing outside after dusk. They are also nice to have for visiting the latrine in the middle of the night when you’re camping.
Block n Roll, which is a set that allowed them to make marble roll ramps with their Lego set.
Wagons…they hadn’t thought to want them yet.
Especially high-quality dinosaur models. They’d never seen anything like them.
Not all in the same year, but: Rolls of neon-colored construction tape (a variation on what the police use to cordon off crime scenes), high-visibility vests like the construction guys wear, construction hard hats, hazard cones with traffic signs, “camp shovels” that are small versions of full-sized shovels…well, you’d have to know our kids. They ran that construction tape all over the yard and made a big mess, but they had a lot of fun with this stuff.
Board games they have never heard of but that suited the way they like to think, such as Blokus and Khet.

Every year, the present from Santa was something they would have never thought to ask for, and they loved to look forward to what it might be. They were also taken to the toy store to pick out toys for less-fortunate children their own age whose parents could not afford to buy them gifts. We told them that when you’re a mom or a dad, you want to give your children gifts for Christmas, which makes Christmas hard for parents who barely have enough money for food. Therefore, it is a gift for both the parents and the kids to do this. That is when we told them that since St. Nicholas is the patron of giving gifts in secret so God can have the thanks, there is a tradition of writing “from Santa” on gifts from anyone who wants to remain anonymous, so that God can reward them. You never know if it is from St. Nicholas or who it is from. Even though our kids are in high school now, it is still not allowed at our house to ask who is responsible for presents “from Santa.” All we do is to say, “well, thank you to Santa!”

It is a lot of fun to think up what to surprise them with! We have a toy store in Portland called Finnegans, and they tend to have toys that would be a delight to receive as a gift–durable and charming. They have a web site, for those looking for ideas. Many times, though, the gifts we bought our children were from hardware stores. That is the sort of things our kids liked! Think about your kids, and use your imagination!

I use to stock toys over 20 years ago and there has always been guns, rockets, etc. It is nothing new, it is what little boys do since about WWII and before that there were the cowboys and Indians. And retailers will sell what makes money.

I am actually more disturbed with those who let their kids play inappropriate video games where killing someone is as easy as blinking an eye. I do realize that kids will play these games, but parents need to realize there is a rating for a reason.

Easter Joy has some great ideas also just because there are toys on the shelf, doesn’t mean anyone has to buy them.

Not really I cannot have kids and I do not have any siblings so there are no kids there to buy for. Just wondered if others noticed the high percentage of boys Christmas toys being machine guns in store displays or if I am just a werido and they were always that way or if it was just small stores that have a high percentage of boys toys being machine guns and bombs. It does bother me of the market being such a high percentage (over half).

I do try to buy for a kid from the tree in stores every year. That is something me and my mom always have done since I was little and I loved it. I know if I did have kids I would have them pick a kid from the tree and pick out a gift for them. I think it is a wonderful idea and lesson for children to part-take in every Christmas. :heart:

Yes I do wish the ratings were paid more attention too on video games. I have to agree with you they are more disturbing.

Don’t boys play with trucks anymore?
They do still have Tonka trucks, don’t they?

Yeah, it’s more or less always been that way. Young boys’ brains are really best suited for simplistic, us vs. them thinking, and in terms of evolution, there has always been a biological benefit for boys (being the more biologically expendable gender) to learn to enthusiastically defend the tribe from outside threats from as early an age as possible.

That said, I’d like to point out that there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Defending the good from the evil is an inherently noble pursuit. They’re going to spend 15 - 19 years in school, where teachers are going to try to convince them that good and evil are always morally equivalent, and until they’re able to appreciate the news, playtime is going to be the only time when they can remind themselves of the difference.

What’s really more remarkable to me, however, is that for those who want to strictly eliminate violence from play, or who want to introduce non-violent play as an option for children, there have never really been more options. One of the best-selling video game series of the past few years was Portal, a game where your “gun” is actually a vehicle, and you defeat enemies by tipping them over. We have children’s movies like the Lego Movie and Ratatouille, where the heroes literally inspire the villains to be better people. In terms of board games. there are a great many amazing games where all players are on the same team, and there is literally no competitiveness between players at all! If anything, the dominance of violence in children’s entertainment is trending downward. Beware of reading too much into that, though. The trend likely has less to do with changes in cultural values, and more to do with the increasing buying power of girls, whose brains develop an appreciation for dialogue and socialization before boys’ brains, and an appreciation for competitiveness and aggression after boys’ brains.

To be fair, it’s been my experience that boys generally play with trucks by smashing them into things. To the developing male brain, the destructive potential of a bulldozer is far more apparent than its constructive potential.

There have always been a lot of gun type toys for boys. In the 50s the boys liked to have cap guns to mimic the shooting of real guns. Or they would just buy the caps and hit them with a hammer to get the exploding sound. There were also toy rifles and bows and arrows for playing cowboys and indians.

There is a reason that there are all these shoot 'em movies. Shooting stuff and even imagining that you can shoot stuff is fun. It is a power trip, there is skill involved, and you don’t have to hurt anyone for it to be fun. This is why people have noticed that if your child ever sees a gun but never gets a toy gun, the kid will probably still chew his toast into the shape of a handgun and imagine he can shoot something.

Haven’t started stocking this year’s retail Christmas toy supply yet (we’re still clearancing). Last year I’d say it was about split pretty even between trains, cartoon/movie characters, Imaginext (split between superheros, pirates and dinosaurs), Nerf, and cars/trucks. :shrug:

Personally, I haven’t seen it slanted overly towards weaponry … but then I view Nerf as a type of “tag” rather than as guns so maybe I’m just not looking.

these were not nerf although we have 3 nerf kinds. I have seen splits in the past and didnt bother me… but this more

maybe it is just this company and the store being so small

When our son was little (way back in the 90s), once you got past age 5 or so, the toy aisles for boys were filled with guns and other weapons, action figures with guns, action figures with knives and swords, gun-laden vehicles for the action figures, cars (some of which had guns), pro-wrestling figures and Legos. It didn’t seem much different than how it was when I was a kid. It’s nothing new.

Could be - perhaps their buyer has a certain mindset about what “boys” want - based on their perspective or perhaps the area in which you live?

Sounds about right. I don’t know how much that affected me though, as to a kid, action figures basically come with the following instructions:

Step 1) Remove toy gun from packaging.
Step 2) Deposit toy gun directly in vacuum cleaner.

It must be only on your part of the world. Over here (and take note, Christmas season’s already started in this country) this is what I often see at the toy store:

(Man… 14 years since I once wanted one. Some things just don’t change. :p)

He who lives by the giant, mechanical power armor will die by the giant mechanical power armor?

More like, “He who lives by the rubber monster suit will die by the cardboard robot costume.” :stuck_out_tongue:

It is interesting the political indications you seem to have in your post. “Bush invaded iraq” etc.(America invaded Iraq.) Toys were much more military when I was growing up. BB guns and toy soldiers have been a staple of life for many a young boy. Even the ballet the “Nutcracker” a Christmas favorite, has toy soldiers in it. It is actually quite violent.

I am not sure if your point is that our world is a dangerous place so we should take the idea of guns and violence away from our youth to protect them? That would seem counterproductive to me.

Honestly I think your politics is blinding your ideas even in something as benign as a plan o gram. Toy companies are not the government lackeys. In fact if you notice most large corporations tend to be quite liberal. Panera and Chipotle are throwing their hat in the gun control arena. In a business sense I never understood why you would wish to alienate a huge portion of potential customers. It is common now for companies to throw their weight behind the social issue of the day, homosexual marriage, guns, or any other issue. But I think with toy companies what speaks the loudest is what sells. And boys buy guns. Always have, in every culture in every time. I have three girls and one boy, even at his young age of 1 he is different. He whacks stuff with sticks. It is our job to teach them how to use them appropriately.


the mentioning of war such as Bush’s invasion was an example of how naturally more guns will be sold for the fact of war in the media often and fathers going overseas… their sons and other boys will naturally want toy guns which means more sales…

The point of my post was not about politics like you seem to be focused on in my OP. The Point of my post was that on that plan o gram was 70% guns and nothing else. I found it disturbing that the Christmas boys toys were that high of a percentage of guns, which I have never seen that high. So the point of my post was to see if anyone else have seen or noticed this and would this be because of current war or if it was just location or perhaps even the size of the store. Here in my location Christmas toys are just being put out… in another location more plan o grams may be up and selling, hearing from people at those locations would be interesting. Also if anyone else was a little concerned about the push of toy guns to the point of 70% of the toys being just that. (if the plan o grams were like that in other locations.) As that is excessive.

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