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Freeing Christmas Toys

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I am in my sixth week of boot camp -- and if you think that I am going to lose weight and get fit, you are wrong.

woman yelling at toy

Blythe Newsome: I am going to boot camp to get strong muscles and build endurance for the big Christmas-toy-unwrapping marathon. Last Christmas, it took me three days and muscles I never knew I had to open the packaging that my kids' toys came in.

What is it with the wrapping that kids' toys come encased in? Are toymakers concerned that Barbie might escape? What is the deal with all the twist ties around her ankles, wrists and neck? And where on earth did they find that super-strong plastic that holds her hair down? Forget duct tape; this stuff is stronger than that. The government should use this for warfare, maybe wrap some of the Hummers in it.

The CDs that the kids got were shrink-wrapped in plastic twice, and when I finally got through that, three sides of the CD case were sealed shut. Where exactly do they think the CD is going to roll off to? I would have used the new scissors I just bought to open the packaging, but I can't get into the package to get the scissors out. The plastic is so tough I cut my hand trying to remove the scissors.

My son got a toy car that was bolted to the thickest cardboard ever made, and I couldn't get the plastic on the wheel off without unscrewing the wheel. I broke one toy trying to get it out of the packaging, and I can only hope my son didn't notice that his Red Power Ranger was missing an arm. The twist ties around the rest of his action figures were twisted in such a crazy way that I had to get my father, an engineer, to come over and help navigate the untwisting.

And the gifts that need assembling .... What do you do with that extra screw that is always left in the pile? I put together one thing that said I needed to wash my hands after assembly because some of the material had lead in it, and lead was found to be harmful if ingested in California. Wow, thank goodness we live in Florida. Have you ever read the instructions that come with toys? I like the instructions in LITE-BRITE that say the light bulb gets hot. Really?

I have learned the hard way that for Christmas, you have to be prepared with scissors, a wire cutter and the tiniest screwdriver you can find. And don't forget the batteries. You will need enough to fill G.I. Joe's Army truck.

As I prepare for the marathon of unsealing plastic and trying to figure out which way to turn the twist ties, I just have one question: Why are all these toys bolted down and wrapped in super strong plastic, while the light bulbs I just bought are wrapped in paper-thin cardboard?!

next: Here's a Year-End Letter without the Bullsh*t
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