Put a Holiday Toy Tradition Under the Tree

(Family Features) Most adults remember that one special Christmas that stands out above the rest thanks to that one coveted gift they discovered with childlike delight under the tree. Now you can help the children in your life create similar memories by sharing a beloved holiday toy tradition: the newest Hess Toy Truck.

“Giving a Hess Toy Truck has been a holiday tradition for generations of families for more than 50 years,” said Justin Mayer, Hess Toy Truck general manager. “The fun and innovative Hess Toy Trucks are for the child in all of us.”

The Hess Toy Truck, one of the longest running toy brands on the market, has been a beloved holiday tradition for more than 50 years. It all began when New Jersey entrepreneur Leon Hess first purchased a second-hand truck and started delivering fuel oil to homes in 1933.

In 1964, shortly after opening the first Hess-branded gas station, Hess decided to offer families a fun, innovative, high-quality toy, the Hess Toy Truck, as a thank you to loyal customers, which would become a hallmark of the holiday season. For decades, parents used to line up at Hess gas stations up and down the East Coast to buy the Hess Toy Truck on Thanksgiving Day before it sold out to gift to their kids for Christmas. As the demand grew, it started going on sale earlier in the month and eventually was made available online, creating one of the best-selling toys in the country that still sells out every year before Christmas.

The newest annual release for 2016 is the Hess Toy Truck and Dragster, a powerful, race-ready duo with sleek styling, drag-racing inspired sounds, over 50 brilliant lights and an innovative design for wheelie-popping action.

The flatbed truck is designed to transport the dragster to any racing event. Styled with a solid green lower body and green-accented white upper body, it is loaded with chrome detailing, including a front grill, sunshield, side panels and exhaust pipes. The cab houses four top-mounted buttons that activate three realistic sounds (ignition, horn and an exciting race launch countdown), along with the headlights, tail lights and running lights. A hidden ramp with slide-activated hydraulic sound ensures this duo can quickly get to the next dragstrip.

The oversized dragster is the largest accompanying race car in the fleet’s history. Its innovative pull-back motor and tilt-activated weight transfer design allows the speedster to launch in either a flat or wheelie position. The racer features super bright LED headlights, a stylish spoiler and chrome-detailed, hood-mounted air intake, side exhaust pipes and a rear parachute box.

The 2016 Hess Toy Truck and Dragster is sold exclusively at hesstoytruck.com for $31.99 plus tax, and includes five batteries and free standard shipping.

Hess Toy Truck

When Play is More Than Play

By Ian Anderson

This morning my son came into the living room and, without a word, began to retrieve the Lego blocks he’d put together the day before. For several minutes he searched, snapped pieces here and there, and laid his buildings and vehicles on the carpet in a very specific order.

Later, I made the mistake of picking them up and placing them in the toy bin; this evoked tears. Even though I hadn’t broken anything, he was sure he’d have to redo what he’d already done.

“If you’re not playing with them right now, they need to be put away,” I told him.

He still wasn’t happy. All that effort — for nothing. He didn’t say it, but he didn’t have to say it out loud because his eyes shot it at me.

I assured him his time wasn’t wasted. He finally moved on.

The summer allows me more time to watch and join my boys in their games, and as I looked over recent Lego developments, I realized what exactly it is they are drawn to: world-building.

Whether they’re acting out the latest drama — “Let’s play ninjas!” “We’re driving to college!” — or constructing boats or forts, they are using their imaginations to feed their creative drives with the worlds swirling in their minds.

It was Tolkien, the maker of Middle Earth and Hobbits, who wrote that world-building is what he did when he wrote, and what we all want to do because that’s how we were made — to create.

In Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water she writes about her young son’s intense feelings about his blocks. When they fell over, he would become fiercely angry and cry. Watching secretly, L’Engle realized that what she was observing in her son was a mirror version of what adults go through when their efforts fail.

Because we act from a deepness within when we do our best work, it’s natural to let anger bubble up when it all comes apart. And it begins at childhood once we are able to create anything, be it blocks, crayons, or story.

Perhaps I should have let the Lego city stand a bit longer. It’s clear that my son, like children in general, plays with a seriousness I should appreciate because he’s practicing for larger play. When he’s grown and he’s chosen the kind of work he will do, he will find deep joy in it when he uses his creativity to its fullest.

And for any of us our joy in work comes when we do the same, and our creative bent turns work back to play; it was this that was intended for us from the beginning.

Ian Anderson is a teacher, a husband, and a dad. He lives with his family in Central Kansas. Occasionally, he tweets here: @ian_writes.