With the the advance of human civilization all over the world come great increases in population. As a people, we have to learn to not only deal with the often limited amount of space we’re afforded to sort our lives out in, but flourish in it. For some of us, the first opportunity to learn this skill comes in the form of a small dormitory in college, or maybe a shoebox ‘first apartment’ in Manhattan paid for by our new modest, post-college ‘first job’ (if we’re lucky enough to get one, of course).
For most of us, however, the first opportunity we get is at a very young age. You see, for a child, the most valuable pieces of real estate are not found in the ritzy neighborhood you mortgaged your life away to live in… no… they can instead be found in the unnecessarily small neighborhood that is their Christmas stocking.
Its design allows for the storage of very few presents (on purpose, no doubt). If you’re a child with, at the very least, an average level of intelligence, you understand the implications of this tiny amount of space, and try your best to capitalize on it… maximizing the awesome, minimizing the not so awesome. It’s a lot like monopoly. You’ve gotta use your real estate wisely, putting just the right amount of houses in just the right places. Except this is real life and your Christmas can be ruined if you do it wrong.
Some time ago, when we were innocent and didn’t understand too many things, the Life Savers storybook was one of the items most deserving of a piece of the stocking’s available real estate. They came with the real, hard-candy life savers we all used to know and love so well (the exception being butterscotch, which managed to almost single-handedly ruin the entire roll). And they came in the form of a book with a typically awesome Christmas story based on the Life Savers universe.
It’s not 1993 anymore, though. For some reason, Life Savers in its hard candy form haven’t fared too well in the most recent years, and the books they can be found in are all but extinct. Taking their place? Gummy Life Savers “storybooks.” This is a huge problem. Here’s one:
I know what you’re thinking. Looks the same as the ones we had as children, right? Well, you’ve just judged a book by its cover. Actually, you’ve ignored the most important detail on the cover: the word “gummies.” If you’ve ever had a gummy Life Saver, you know what I’m talking about… a horrible, almost flavorless little ring of poor ingenuity.
There is not another candy in the world that gives such wonderful fruits such a bad name. They all taste the same, and they all take about 6 1/2 minutes to chew. The bitter aftertaste lingers, often for weeks. And this book comes with 2 rolls of them… ensuring the rest of your Christmas vacation will not be enjoyable in any sense of the word. But that’s not the whole story. The rest of the story, ironically enough, is that there is no story.
Apparently, the creative team at Life Savers is unable to create a decent narrative storyline with a Christmas theme anymore. Instead, they’ve replaced this usually wonderful section of the book with Christmas “games” – you know the type… the same type you find on the backs of cereal boxes in lieu of the awesome toys you used to find inside the box, before the world got so cheap… the “help Santa get through the maze to his reindeer” or “help Santa unscramble the names of the kids on the “nice list” before Christmas” games. Terrible, horrible, unexciting games that kids don’t ever want to play. And the book’s full of them.
This wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to get if it didn’t take up 45% of your stocking. But these things are huge. And when the rest of the stocking is full of Sweet Tarts’ uninspired, poorly flavored take on the candy cane, you’re in for a rough Christmas morning.
Parents: before you buy what looks like the classic Christmas stocking stuffer you used to know and love as a kid, read the fine print. Chances are, it’s a shell of what is used to be. It’s easy to not notice, but trust me… your kids will. And they won’t ever forget it.