Years ago, before I had children, I bought my nephew a handmade marshmallow gun from a Renaissance Faire as his Christmas gift. He was five-years-old at the time and I thought I was sure to win the award for Best Aunt Ever. My sister-in-law wanted to kill me. Now that I’m a mom I realize my faux pas and will do penance for my crime with this handy list of items you should never buy for a child that isn’t your own. Here’s 10 types of Christmas gifts that will make parents hate you.
1. Messy art supplies.
You want my child to unleash their inner Picasso, I want you to discover the magic that is Crayola Color Wonder.
2. Toys that make fart sounds.
Whoopie cushions, tubs of goo, things you buy at Spencer’s. Gifts like these might make you the favorite uncle, but they will also make you my least favorite brother.
Yes, Christmas commercials featuring puppies with giant bows give us all a case of The Feels. But what those ads don’t show you is the part directly afterwards where the puppy tries to eat tinsel off the Christmas tree and promptly vomits on all the gifts. Unless you get an enthusiastic “Yes” from Mom and Dad ahead of time, all gifts should not now, nor have ever been, breathing.
4. Toys with small parts.
Chances are the living room of any parent is already a minefield of Legos. Please don’t add to our pain- literally.
5. Batteries not included.
There is nothing worse than having to explain to your child that they can’t play with a new toy because you’re all out of the required batteries. Wait, I lied- there is something worse having to bundle up and go out in the cold to get said batteries.
6. Anything with the words “dough” or “sand” in the title
Unless you are volunteering to either a)- take this to your home so that when my kids come there to play it’s your carpet which becomes a multi-colored tapestry of dreams, or b) let us call you to come vacuum each time it’s played with, buy something else.
7. Toys that are part of a series my child doesn’t already collect.
You bought my daughter an American Girl doll when prior to this moment she had no knowledge of their existence. I’ll be sure to direct her your way next year when she’s begging for the matching $300 parlor set.
8. A piggy bank.
While your efforts to think outside the box are appreciated, now I must deal with a child who is constantly swiping the spare change I set aside for secret Starbucks runs.
9. Noisy toys.
Sure, the flashing lights and jaunty little tune seemed awesome when you bought it, but you get to go home after dessert and never hear this toy again while I, on the other hand, will be stumbling downstairs at 3 a.m. fumbling for the off switch.
10. Expensive tech gadgets.
I get it Grandma, you want to be the one to bestow our little one with his own iPad so he can Facetime you whenever he likes. But giving children access to technology is a big discussion that shouldn’t be made without input from the parents. And besides, I want to be the one who gets credit for giving such an awesome gift.
(Image: Vladimir Gjorgiev/ Shutterstock)