Xmas is coming

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, a farthing will do
If you haven’t got a farthing, then God bless you!

The nearest we got to geese and charity yesterday was someone shaking a collection tin for animal welfare in the midst of our hunt for Christmas gifts. The commercial hurricane that is modern Christmas has well an truly arrived in the shopping centres of Warsaw and with mama babysitting for a while we took the opportunity to get out amongst it.

We first visited “Blue City”, or at it used to be known “That Turkish thing”. Many many years ago someone, apparently the Turks were involved, built a monstrously humungous edifice at the busy junction between Trasa Torunska and Jerozolimskie. It took an age to build, in fits and spurts, but was badly planned and eventually stood as an empty concrete cathedral for years with nobody sure what to do with it or interested in taking it on. Eventually somebody plucked up the courage, finished the place off and opened it as the Blue City shopping centre. Truth is that it’s a pretty smelly place compared to the main two centres in Warsaw, Arkadia and Galleria Mokotow. Like Promenada on the other side of the river, the centre gives the impression of having been planned by amateurs and only manages to stay in business by dint of it’s location which makes it the easiest place to get to for a significant chunk of the population.

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Our Blue City visit was before we dropped Zosia with her babcia and so she had a chance to show us the sort of things she’s interested in Santa bringing:

My Little Pony (as if 200 of them aren’t enough!)

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Ponyville (the madness continues in smaller form!)

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A fairy on a pigeon (what can I say)

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Working out what Zosia would like for Christmas is impossible. On one hand, some time earlier, we asked Zosia to write a letter to Santa telling him what she would like for Christmas (assuming she was going to remain a good girl). She drew a very nice picture of a doll’s house and explained this is what she wanted, with some dolls and other accessories. On the other hand, she is completely in love with about 30% of what is shown on TV adverts and on the third hand (??) take her to any toy shop and she’ll pick out a whole different collection as her favourites (as above pictures). So, don’t tell her, but this is what she’s got along with the Dale (sheep) family + twins and some furniture and stuff. It will be very interesting to see how she plays with it. She is very much into “role playing” and family life so this should go down well, but who knows?

Being a certified idiot, I also bought a few of those “It’s Christmas so why not waste some money on ridiculous things” things. This year, they include a battery operated gopher that sings (very loudly) “I like to move it move it!” while engaging in a little robotic dancing. Also a typical Christmas game where you pour marbles into a holder full of spikes at the the top of a plastic tower and then remove the spikes. You withdraw the spikes and gravity might send some marbles down the slide to the bottom. The player with the least marbles dislodged is the winner. I think. Best played when drunk as a skunk. Last year was that silly elephant that blows butterflies into the air and you catch them with a net. That lasted all of 12 plays. Soon it will be in the piwniczka, and then the maintenance man’s kids will be playing with it! :)

Again, this Christmas, I’m underwhelmed by the quality of the toys on offer for kids of Zosia’s age. I think for younger kids, 0-3, the choice and quality is actually pretty good but since then the options to buy something that is not purely commercial trash become far more limited. I’m not sure exactly what I would consider to be a good toy, I think what we have bought comes close, but there is little doubt that at this age the manufacturers appear to move away from genuine attempts at education and more into anything pink or furry in a TV advert = big bucks.

Anyway, we’ve ticked a lot off the list without having to fight the peak of the crowds and we shall no doubt fill the gaps in the coming week or so.

Best of luck to all of you who haven’t started yet!

(footnote for camera folk – the above were with the G9)

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