Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fill 'er up. Unleaded please

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.


Girlplustwo said...

dude, i can't believe you have a fake tree.

but maybe there is something to it. we have a living tree that lives outside our house all year. i was outside today when i saw a rogue dog come running up and guess what, he pissed all over my soon to be indoor tree.


k.thedoula said...

Plan Toys... made in the Phillipines, rubberwood (renewable resource)... KICK ASS DOLLHOUSES!
Each of children are getting something from this company.
No lead, green company, heirloom toys (as in they can all get them back when they have their own children in a gazillion years from now).
In laws have plastic little tykes and fisher price under the tree. My parents have contributed to their university education.
We hope to
Live simply,
so that others may simply live.

steps off soapbox, looks around and ducks away quickly...

cooler*doula said...

Another vote for Plan Toys. Great, mod doll's houses. I've tried to do all wood for some time now - as mm said - there's the heirloom aspect to them too.

Cool Mom Picks has some great, safe suggestions too.

PunditMom said...

Well, the fake tree DOES save the lives of real trees. And how can you possibly pass up the pink castle!

Magpie said...

I'm all about a couple of books and a new shirt. I figure the relatives are good for the leaded plastic toys.

shay said...

I'm all about the doll houses over here. What can I say, we had boys first so...bring on the girlie baby.
We went for Playmobil though. Wonder if that's safe?

We did fake tree too but I think I lost it so...

Julie Marsh said...

I can't do the fake tree, but I trust that you've got reasons.

I do, however, understand the whole "taking up precious living space with toys" deal. My family room contains a mini-trampoline and a Little Tikes slide.

Julie Pippert said...

I can't come! Oh rats! It might be living a little too far south...or schedule conflicts. Okay empty wallet.

What I miss?

Nobody here recycles trees. They dump them on the curb for landfill.


Using My Words

Blog Antagonist said...

Ugh. I am so glad my boys are pretty much over toys. Diminutive One still like legos, but all the other crap he can do without. It's not really an issue for us and I'm relieved.

Our tree from last year is still in the back yard on pile of yard rubbish. There is a no burning ban here right now because of the drought. I suppose this year's tree will just get tossed on top of it.

flutter said...

Ok, I had something fantastic to say then I read jen's comment and it was all over. *wipes a tear*

Lawyer Mama said...

Jen got me too. Good one, J!

Anywho, I'm making a craft box for the kids for this Christmas. Colors, paints, glitter, buttons, ribbon, feathers, non-toxic glue sticks, all kinds of gaudy crap. At the very least it will help me & T out the next time we have to do Hollis's homework in the middle of the night. I'm going to do a dress up box too. I just can't bring myself to buy any more toys right now. Sigh.

ms blue said...

Now that I'm reading labels on everything and I am pretty sure that nothing is made in North America. Hopefully Christmas is not recalled.

josetteplank.com said...

Seriously. We can not fit any more toys in our house. In fact, for the baby, I'm just dragging-up the old Fisher Price Little People from the basement, running them through the dishwasher and Santa will be recycling them for Christmas Morning.

I haven't even asked for Christmas lists yet. They get one toy from Santa, and the rest are from mom and dad. And they know that mom and dad and Santa all have a strict budget this year.

BOSSY said...

Well look whose got all the energy in the world all the sudden. Bossy's happy you're on your way back. Jaysus.

Cristina said...

I love the digital camera. Very cool! I have all of Little Guy's presents already, but I might just have to get one more.

Regarding plastic trees, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but most of them contain lead in them. If you you Google "lead in Christmas trees", you'll get a good article at the top of the search by the Children's Health Environmental Coalition.

Alex Elliot said...

My older son after getting of hold of the Orvis Dog catalog is asking for a lab for Christmas. I've already explained that Santa doesn't bring pets.

Nadine said...

I am sure you picked the right toys for her to enjoy until she's 37! A laptop and a digital camera, can't go wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot to be said about a fake tree. You wont be picking up needles until june ;o)

goodtwin said...

Because of the little ones that come to our house for Christmas, I have opted for an artificial tree for the past three years, even though we have 33 acres of blue spruce trees that I could just walk out the door and cut one (usually the youngest daughter does that). To make my tree special, I purchased a tree stand that rotates. It is very cool, or you could have it stand still. With the train running around under the tree, and the tree rotating, it is a sight for sore eyes. Last year I didn't want to put all my heirloom ornaments on because of the babies coming over, so I went and bought brightly colored, plastic ornaments (lime green, fushcia, gold, etc) after all, isn't Christmas for the little ones?

Lawyer Mama said...

We're doing a craft box and a dress up box. Thankfully, the grandparents seemed to have listened to the suggestions of scaling back the platicky crap this year.