Opinion: Give the gift of Blocky this Christmas

Opinion: Give the gift of Blocky this Christmas

Columnist Eric Welsh says it’s time to simplify Christmas shopping and step away from tech.

Christmas shopping is the worst.

Navigating crowded parking lots and stores is enough to give a guy PTSD, and trying to find that ‘perfect gift’ is a near impossible task.

It occurred to me last year that I should buy my wife a car.

I assume this is something many people do because every TV commercial I’ve seen since late August has someone in their driveway on Christmas morning, smiling happily at a new luxury SUV with a massive bow on it.

And if I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that life as portrayed in commercials is 100 per cent accurate.

But giving someone a luxury SUV is not as easy as it looks.

First off, where does one find a massive bow, and how do they get it to look so good on TV? I found material at a local fabric store and tried to duplicate the process on my distinctly non-luxury vehicle. It looked like I’d tied it blind, with my left hand, after consuming 15 pots of coffee.

Not good.

I thought about going with simple wrapping paper instead, but that was a touch pricey. I calculated needing 62 rolls to fully cover an average-sized vehicle, plus 134 rolls of tape.

Someone suggested getting the big roll from Costco, and it’s true, you could wrap a battleship with that much paper.

But, I also calculated it would take nine hours to do it.

The final hurdle was the vehicle cost. I had my eye on something with a sticker price of $54,000, which was $53,997 above my budget, so I moved on to the next best thing.

On Christmas morning I put a tiny bow on a Hot Wheels version of that SUV and presented it to Mrs. Welshy.

She looked at it curiously for a moment, then suddenly got really excited and bolted out the door into the driveway. No doubt, she was looking to show all her friends my thoughtful gift. She came in moments later with a profoundly disappointed look on her face, and I can only assume her friends were all inside.

Shopping for kids is just as challenging. Over the years I’ve bought many things that seemed great on the surface, but ended up being giant headaches.

There was a dollhouse that took five days and assistance from an engineering firm to assemble.

There was the drone for my daughter. It never did fly in a straight line and we couldn’t figure out how to land it. We took it out to a field in Promontory, sent it up into the blue sky and last we saw, it was cresting the snow-covered peak of a nearby mountain, heading towards Bellingham.

As I watched it go, I swore (loudly and colorfully) that I would simplify future Christmas gifts, and go back to a simpler time.

The best gift I ever got was a wooden block. I called it ‘Blocky.’

It was about eight inches long and four inches wide and it did everything. Most of the time it was a heroic robot, fighting for the freedom of all sentient beings.

I called it ‘Optimus Block.’

My son says it should have been ‘Blocktimus Prime.’

At various times it was a car, boat, airplane and spaceship.

It was briefly a football too, until little Johnny Doogin clumsily missed a perfect pass from me and ‘Blocky’ smacked him in the forehead. The concussion was serious and if you look closely, you can still see a rectangular indentation above his right eyebrow.

‘Blocky’ was a treasured friend. I used to go to bed with him resting by my pillow every night. That had to stop when I kept rolling over onto ‘Blocky’ and waking up with horrible neck pain, but still, no toy ever brought a boy more joy.

Both my kids are getting ‘Blocky’ this Christmas, and I’m certain they’ll be much happier that they’d be with a smartphone or Nintendo Switch.

I’ll be much happier too.

One word of caution though. If you want to get your child a ‘Blocky’ of his or her own, make sure you sand it down first, because nothing spoils Christmas quicker than a trip to the ER with a three-inch splinter.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

A drone’s-eye view of the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. (Screenshot/Shutter Speed Network)
Kent Council advocates for a wider Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

Council voted unanimously to send letter of concern to transportation ministry

Temperature records were broken for June 21, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Record-breaking heat shimmered across Fraser Valley for second day

Tuesday should be a bit cooler says forecast from Environment Canada

Artists featured in the BLM Social Justice Art Project at UFV are (clockwise from top left): Michelle Msami, Dona Park, Rain Neeposh and Faria Firoz.
Black Lives Matter art exhibit opens at UFV in Abbotsford

Show features the work of four artists and runs until Sept. 15

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl (right) toured the Hope Curling Club last February along with Ray Scott (left) and Craig Traun (middle) after the building had accessibility improvements. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl touts Enabling Accessibility Fund

Strahl is encouraging local organizations to apply for funding for mid-sized projects before July 29

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
Student’s quote in Chilliwack high school yearbook equates graduation with end of slavery

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

Most Read