I'm having a bit of a Christmas conundrum. This is the first year that Chicky will really enjoy Christmas and all its trappings - presents, Santa Claus, hanging lights and ornaments on the artificial Christmas tree we've committed ourselves to for the foreseeable future
(shut up, I have a good reason for having a plastic tree. I know it's not very "green" of me. I have enough guilt for all of us, okay?)
- but when it comes right down to purchasing her gifts I've gotten stuck. She doesn't really need anymore toys, or more to the point my house doesn't need any more toys in it, so what she gets better be damn special. Not to mention something she'll want to play with until she's 37.
I've told Mr. C that any gifts purchased for our child with our own hard earned money will be from companies that can reassure me that no lead paint or date rape drugs were used while making their toys. I can't necessarily control what others will be buying for Chicky but as her mother you can bet your bippy if I'm going to allow more toys to clutter my already over-cluttered house they're going to be safe. Or as safe as they should be before she learns how to use them as weapons against the dogs. It won't be as easy as say running to my local super retail store and grabbing the first battery powered toy that produces fifteen different sounds, all of them designed to make my ears bleed, but it is as easy as a few web searches and an extra shipping charge.
Unless you've been living under a rock you've probably already heard of Consumer Unions Not in My Cart campaign to keep unsafe toys away from our children (only, like, a bajillion bloggers have already written about it). Well, their Twelve Days of Safe Shopping drive is starting this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Or Black Friday as it's so cheerily called. If you're committed to keeping unsafe toys out of your home, and the homes of others, go to their website to see how you can become a Safe Shopper.
Like I mentioned it all kicks off this Friday around the country. However, if you're in the Boston area I've got the details for that local event:
Meet at the Park Street T Station (Corner of Tremont and Park) at 9:45am on Friday morning and then walk over to Downtown Crossing.
As well as Consumer Union there will also be local support from MASSPIRG and Clean Water Action. Local media and maybe a government representative or two will also be on hand. Concerned shoppers are needed to hand out information to the public and talk to the media. Here's that link again if you'd like to sign up to help.
Even if you can't make it to one of the designated Get the Lead Out cities you can help by spreading the word and making others aware. Tell your friends and family about only purchasing toys from safe manufacturers. Make them aware of the dangers of lead paint on our kids (and our pets! Does it never end??) toys. And only buy toys from companies that can tell you with certainty their toys are safe.
In the meantime I will be resuming my web search for Chicky's Christmas presents. I've got my eye on this and this and maybe something like this since it's what she asked Santa for. Okay, she didn't really ask for that. She asked for a doll house. But I thought the other toy was way cooler, not to mention it was awarded the Oppenheimer Toy Portfolio 2008 Lead Free Platinum Awards.
Yes, I'm aware it will take up a butt-load of room in my house. I just can't win.