Another holiday season has come and gone, but plastic holiday decorations, knick knacks and gifts will live on for hundreds of years and then some.
I started thinking about plastic and the holidays shopping for my nephews and niece’s Christmas presents. Walking bewildered through the toy department, I was overwhelmed by all the plastic. Pretty much every toy these days is made of plastic. Of course you can find non-plastic toys somewhere, but will those naturally made toys allow you to maintain cool aunt status? Doubtful.
Plastic toys are all the rage. Who am I to deny my nephews their Lego sets and Transformers. In the end, they all received plastic toys, except for one nephew because his mother told me he had enough toys and to send books instead.
Then I started pondering the life of plastic toys. Some plastic toys are really sturdy and can be passed on to other families and sometimes to the next generation. Legos seem to fall in this category. Even after the instructions for certain sets are long gone, another child can pick up those same Legos and have fun building or creating something. (This is in no way an endorsement for Legos, just an observation.)
But a quick survey of toys quickly reveals that many aren’t made very well and will be lucky to last through the holidays. This seemed especially true in the girl’s section where you can find mini plastic doll houses and castles packaged with tiny plastic figurines and even tinier plastic accessories. Plastic things that will be lost immediately and never serve any purpose despite their insanely long life cycle.
And then I went to a holiday party and encountered the most disturbing plastic holiday item yet…a plastic singing and candy pooping snowman (see photos). It’s just over four inches tall and about 2.5 inches wide. When you press on its head a very poorly recorded song plays that sounds like the voice of a child, “Dump, dump, dump a do. Rump a bump, bump a do. Happy Holiday! Dump, dump, dump a do. Rump a bump, bump a do. Happy Holiday!”
To top it off, when you pull the snowman’s tail up a round turd-shaped candy falls into the hat. (And since when do snowmen have tails?) It’s as if the snowman is using its very own hat for a toilet. I can’t speak for the candy’s quality because I don’t eat that stuff, but I can tell you this: The “best by” date is June 2014 and the ingredients are dextrose, maltodextrin, malic acid, magnesium stearate, shellac, artificial flavor, titanium dioxide (color), red 40 lake, beeswax, yellow 5 lake, blue 1 lake. Hhmm, hhmm, yum.
At first I thought…okay that’s pretty funny, I can see how kids might get a kick out of that. Maybe it’s worth keeping around with the other holiday decorations in storage and pulling out every year for a laugh. All you would have to do is replace the batteries once in awhile. Then I read the tag and here’s what it says, “For ages 5 & up! Battery included. Battery is not replaceable.” Basically, this plastic singing and candy pooping snowman is designed to be disposable. What a waste. And thanks to the battery inside it falls in the category of electronic waste and needs to be disposed of properly at an electronic waste collection site.
Here’s what the lyrics should really be: “This is a piece of plastic crap. I can’t believe you paid four dollars for that. Plastic holiday! This is a piece of plastic crap. I can’t believe you paid four dollars for that. Plastic holiday!”
Help the earth and oceans by not buying short-lived plastic items like this snowman. Plastic: The gift that keeps on giving in a bad way.