I have a hard time believing the economy is still slow when the lot set of used Star Wars Galactic Heroes I was following on Ebay just sold for $250. Two hundred and fifty American dollars! I was outbid back at $20 and well, the rest was like watching a train wreck. I just had to keep opening the email reminders asking me to bid again. How much is it now?? Who is spending that kind of money on used toys? Hundreds of dollars for small, plastic Jedi masters who are notorious for getting lost at groceries stores and buried in parks, by the way. Who wants the headache? Parents whose children wrote down “galactic heroes” on their Christmas Wish Lists this year, not realizing they had been discontinued, that’s who.

Now I find myself obsessing over how I can get my hands on heroes Master Plo Koon and Qui Gon Jinn for cheap–oooh, it would be a Christmas miracle if I could find them! An absolute miracle!

(Sound of record scratching…) I know, I know. I have to take a step back and remind myself that discontinued spacemen are not what Christmas is all about. First of all, my kids are at ages where the big box their gift came in is even more fun than the actual present itself. I should know, seeing as how I just spent the last hour helping my eight year old daughter decorate her new cardboard house while her father put together the new desk inside it.

And second of all, I’d hate for the true meaning of Christmas, the ultimate gift, the ultimate miracle, to be overshadowed by my plotting and scheming over deals on toys. I mean, will it matter if I never get my elvish clutches on a rare Dino Lego set before the 25th, even though that new series won’t debut on shelves until after January 2012. (Ooooh, what a coup that would be! Get a pre-release…) I know, stop it. Stop it!!

Christmas is about giving, which is maybe why my zeal for the ultimate Christmas morning resembles that of an elaborate heist….Surprises and twists down to the last stocking! I want to give a great Christmas. But unless my children feel that same excitement about giving, and aren’t just basking and gloating on the receiving end, I won’t be doing them any favors, no matter how many discontinued galactic heroes I find on sale.

That’s why I’m grateful there are so many others who make it easy for the rest of us to give at Christmastime. To be honest, other times of the year, I struggle to find service projects suitable for my young brood where we could be of actual help and not a loud, chaotic hindrance. But during Christmas, it’s easy. Sub for Santa, Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army and so many other organizations show up at my stores, grateful for the support of me and my loud entourage. It’s the time of year when gift giving isn’t weird and awkward or out of context. We can freely give to whomever we choose, strangers even, tag a “Merry Christmas” to it and it’s socially acceptable. How wonderful!

So that’s the project this week: Get the kids involved in giving to others. As for seed money, well now that I know how much Galactic Heroes are going for, I could post our other heroes up on eBay…