Buying gifts for the people you love is so special, especially when that person is yourself. For everyone else, it’s haaard. Finding something age-appropriate, gender-neutral, meaningful, and available on Amazon Prime for two-day delivery (just being realistic here about our gifting journeys) for kids is almost impossible. I get it. And seeing kids’ faces light up when they rip open a gift to find an amazing surprise is almost certainly worth the price (of Prime membership). As parents, we love and appreciate that you want to give our kids a gift that will delight them. But please, for Christmas’ sake, think about us parents when you’re shopping.
I’m already full-time feeding elaborate lies to my kid about Santa, and I don’t need to have to use my confabulatory talents to explain why certain gifts need to, uh, go away. My daughter is old enough now to remember things she is given. So a problematic gift puts us in the position of having to decide what’s worse — the gift itself or my poor child crying as Grinch-Mom steals away her joy.
My cousins have a toddler roller coaster. Yes, it is plastic and only three feet high. But I repeat, TODDLER ROLLER COASTER.
Every parent has their own definition of a “problematic gift.” For me, I have several.
Inconvenient gifts are the ones that basically become my responsibility or get in my way. We don’t have a playroom or any extra space, so those amazing dollhouses, building sets and accessory packs would drown us. Giant stuffed animals are so cute and also the worst kind of houseguest because they never leave (until I throw them out). Tents and playhouses? So much fun until I’m stacking them on top of each other to make a path to my daughter’s bed.
And don’t even think about giving my kids something that’s alive. Until they are old enough to get a job, thereby paying for vet bills and proving some level of responsibility, no pets that mommy doesn’t buy and claim responsibility for herself. Ever.
Unsafe gifts are everywhere. Please ask yourself if you had kids, would you want them to have this? Anything with wheels or a motor should be avoided unless I’ve cleared it. Have you ever actually seen someone successfully ride one of those hoverboards without bursting into flames or falling into a canal? My cousins have a toddler roller coaster. Yes, it is plastic and only three feet high. But I repeat, TODDLER ROLLER COASTER. Would my daughter pass out from excitement on receiving this? Absolutely. But would she eventually fall off the back, smash into a wall, run over the cat or knock out a tooth? Absolutely.
Noisy gifts are just cruel to parents. I already hear cartoon theme songs in my dreams and we don’t watch that much TV. Everything my kids own does not need to talk or sing to them! For the 15 minutes a day my daughter is calmly playing by herself, I really don’t want to hear her phone sing the colors, her oven sing the ABCs, her fake vacuum “vroom” and her book read itself. My house is never quiet. Please don’t add to the chaos. All mommy wants for Christmas is a silent night.
Yes, I’m a bit of a hippie and I’d prefer not everything our baby touches and chews on to be plastic. If you can’t get behind my weird “natural materials’ obsession, think of it this way, wood doesn’t break and frankly, it looks better. I can’t think of anything for a baby that only comes in plastic form. Rubber pacifiers? Yes please. And I’d 100% prefer stepping on a wood block at 3 a.m. over stepping on and breaking a plastic block into a million jagged pieces.
If you feel like I’ve taken all the fun out of Christmas or that I’m just being ungrateful or demanding, I’m sorry. Like all parents, we just want what we think is best for our kids and our home and our Instagram #aesthetic.
I also want stuff for myself.
If you are buying something for my children, it’s probably because you love them. So please, if you want to give them a gift, let it be something that will be fun for years, uses their imagination, or gets them outside or just off the couch. Sure, they’re begging for what they saw on TV last week, but is that really what you want to give them?
As the mom, I give you permission to not buy the “hottest toy of the year” that lights up, dances, speaks in five languages, and poops its own diaper. I give you permission to buy books, (washable) art supplies, or educational toys. I give you permission to just buy one thing.
I do not give you permission to buy us a dog.
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