More fun than a box of … just pass the box, please.

It's Christmas time and most parents in America will spend far more on toys for their kids than the children actually care for. Kids generally want something to stimulate their imagination and … they want frequent affirmation of inherent value. If you understand that, you can skip directly to the test.

I am not a psychologist, or any -ist for that matter, but I have always been a people watcher. And kids are simply smaller, more honest, versions of people. If you don't get that, go to a park and listen to what the kids say. You will hear, “Watch me mommy! Watch me daddy!”

What does that have to do with Christmas shopping? First off, I am a big fan of blessing my kids, who are now all adults, with cool gifts. So, this is not a Scrooge post. But, there is no value in overloading children with a giant pile of stuff on Christmas morning.

So, parents, you should thoughtfully choose a few gifts and stick with your decisions. Ignore the advertising: it is designed to take your money, not give you joy. Then, be sure to wrap those gifts in big boxes. The boxes are critical, because they will become the star of the show. There is not a lot that can compete with a few good boxes.

Remember the boxes!

You see, a cardboard box is actually a portal into another place and time. This is one of those little-known laws of physics that has been kept as a deep secret. But your kids will know. They will crawl around in those caverns and end up in places like Narnia, or Middle Earth, or the Wild West, or … the options are endless! If you want to ignite a child's imagination, skip the electronics and get them a big box. Books are good too, by the way. But be sure to include the big box.

If you want to earn the Parent of the Lifetime award, crawl into that box with the kids and tell them a story from long ago or far away. You could even read them Curious George. That will do nicely for the imagination, and affirm their inherent value far more than if you purchased a Toy-R-Us franchise!

I think my kids have outgrown the box era, but my granddaughter is a year old. Now, I need a box large enough for a stiff old man to crawl into …