Posts Tagged ‘ Christmas ’

Toys ‘R’ Us in U.K. to Stop Gendered Marketing

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Toys ‘R’ Us stores in the United Kingdom have announced they will no longer stock toys according to gender, avoiding sections labeled “Boys” and “Girls.”  The announcement is in response to an organization called “Let Toys Be Toys,” which advocates for gender-neutral toy marketing in order to encourage children to use their imaginations and find ways to enjoy all sorts of toys.  More from The Huffington Post:

“We’re delighted to be working so closely with a major toy retailer and believe that there is much common ground here,” Megan Perryman, a Let Toys Be Toys campaigner, said in a press release. “Even in 2013, boys and girls are still growing up being told that certain toys are ‘for’ them, while others are not. This is not only confusing but extremely limiting, as it strongly shapes their ideas about who they are and who they can go on to become. We look forward to seeing Toys ‘R’ Us lead the way to a more inclusive future for boys and girls.”

Toys “R” Us has attempted to put aside stereotypes in the past. In 2012, the U.S.-based company’s Swedish branch gained attention when images in its Christmas catalog challenged traditional gender roles.

According to the Let Toys Be Toys release, other U.K. retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, The Entertainer and TJ Maxx have agreed to remove “boy” and “girl” signs from their stores in response to the campaign.

Image: Stuffed toys, via Shutterstock

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Autism-Friendly Santas Offer Mall Alternatives

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

A growing number of Santas whose mannerisms are more approachable for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are visiting malls, parties, and community centers across the country, The Associated Press reports.  Many of the “sensitive” Santas appear at set hours after the mall has closed, so the lights, noise, and crowds are not overwhelming to autistic children.  The trend is opening the tradition of visits and photos with Santa to families who may have thought their children would never enjoy or even tolerate such an event.  From the Globe:

Many children with autism are especially sensitive to loud noises, jangling music, crowds and unpredictable situations, and some parents say the idea that they could wait patiently in a long line to see Santa is laughable at best.

The Borres tried without success a few times over the years to grab quick snapshots if Ben randomly walked close enough to any Santa they encountered, but with mixed results.

Now, he visits an autism-friendly Santa each December at an informal yearly event that Borre and other autism families hold at a local playground. The sensitive Santa happens to be Ben’s grandfather, Ray Lepak, who was compelled to become an autism-friendly Santa for local families after seeing what his daughter’s family was experiencing.

“Just because a family has a child with special needs doesn’t mean they don’t want all the same memories that everyone else does,” Borre said. “We all want those same holiday joyful moments; it just has to be approached differently.”

One such Santa, Ray Lepak of Manchester, New Hampshire, described his process:

He starts with a few mellow “Ho, Ho, Ho” greetings, watches for those who are intrigued, and smiles or beckons to them to come closer. Many steer clear but watch him, either curiously or warily, while others remain disinterested.

“You’ll see them watch Santa out of the corner of their eye, then little by little they’ll come closer, then walk away as if you’re not there, and come back in a bit,” Lepak said. “It’s really about following their lead and communicating on their terms.”

Some will give him a high five; the braver ones might sit on his lap. At the recent gathering, one child had no interest at all in Santa until he realized that the big guy in the bright red suit was willing to push him on a swing — and those fleeting moments were enough for the boy’s family to snap pictures.

Sensitive Santas have appeared in Connecticut, Ohio, and Minnesota, the article reports.

Image: Santa hat, via Shutterstock

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Tags: , , , , | Categories: Fun

Toy Rental Trend Taking off This Holiday Season

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Parents who are contemplating what to buy their children for the holidays have a new option:  toy rentals.  A growing number of companies are offering rental toys using the Netflix model of monthly fees and easy returns, so that families can have fun opening holiday gifts, but not permanently overflow the toy room. An blog reports:

Call it the season of regiving. Toy rental is part of a growing trend in recent years for renting everything from designer handbags to big-screen TVs.

It’s about stretching your holiday dollars further, said Nikki Pope, founder and CEO of Toygaroo, a toy rental company with 11 employees that launched a year-and-a-half ago.

“We don’t do tricycles and dollhouses, but we do filler toys that moms and dads feel pressured to put under the tree,” she said. Things like puzzles, educational electronic games, and wooden toys.

Pope compared her company to DVD rental giant Netflix. Members pay from $24.99 a month for four toys up to $50 for eight toys, and every box that ships contains $120 to $300 in merchandise. Toys offered include everything from products that carry well-known brand names such as Fisher-Price to items from lesser-known toy makers that don’t show up at Toys R Us. If a customer wants to swap out a toy during any given month that can be done for an additional charge.

Image: Christmas gifts, via Shutterstock.

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