Buying presents for kids that parents won’t hate

Shopping for kid’s Christmas presents is kind of fun. Particularly when you don’t have any of your own (kids that is, not presents). I remember those child-free days, when the toy aisle were corridors of nostalgic remembrance (I had that) and occasional envy (they never had those when I was kid). Now they are battle fields of hostage-like negotiation. Put that back. No, I’m not buying you that. We are here to buy your friend a present, remember? Yes, I think it’s very cool that the dinosaur can move and make noise. No, I’m not buying it for you. I don’t care if every other boy in your class has one. 
Buying Gifts for Kids
If you are buying for a child this year, and don’t have one of your own, chances are that you are thinking about what’s going to impress your little friend. Can I suggest you also spare a thought for their parents?

This handy guide will help.

Is it obnoxiously large? Now, I know that a very large present looks particularly impressive under the tree but unless the kid lives in a palatially size home with many spare rooms, maybe re-think it. The first thing mum and dad are going to think is “where the hell are we going to put that?”  The kid will be awestruck for exactly five minutes before said toy starts collecting dust.

Does it light up and/or make noise? If you were to repeat that noise, say, five hundred times over, would that make you want to poke your eyes out with a fork? If you must by the light up/loud instrument of parental torture, please buy something that has volume control and an easily located off button.

Does it say anywhere on the box that it requires “some adult assembly”? That “some” is always an utter and complete lie. It’s a bit like “I will drink some champagne on Christmas day” If you are going to give one of those assembly required gifts, stick around and help put it together. It’ll be fun! (imagine a particularly evil grin as I say that).

Is it composed of very small plastic parts that seem to serve no purpose other than to pose a choking risk to toddlers and dogs? I don’t know why kids LOVE small bits of moulded plastic. But they do. The really, really, really do. I spend most of my life trying to get the damn things out of the house.  We don’t need any more of them.

Is it a lead-in to some kind of collection that will financially ruin their parents for months to come? Do you have any idea how expensive Pokémon cards are? If they are already collecting that kind of thing, a box/folder to place cards into will undoubtedly be well received. Because the damn things will be all over the house.

Will it lead to bodily harm, probably to be sustained by parents? Anything that launches small plastic pellets is not likely to end well. Oh, who I am kidding? The Nerf guns have completely taken over and I stand in the face of a juggernaut I cannot stop. We gave up on the no guns rule after my eldest started biting his toast into the shape of a pistol.

Is it excessively marketed as male or female? Okay, this is just me on a high horse here but toys don’t need to be pink, pink, pink or blue, blue, blue. I have boys and I think the gender issue of toys is less blatant for little guys. But if you are buying for a little girl, don’t feel limited to all the pink. She might be dead into trucks. Feel free to buy my little guy a doll or a pram – he loves both.

Honestly, sparing a thought for the parents at Christmas time will be so appreciated. As will wine. Wine will also be appreciated.

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Here are some present ideas that never fail to delight parents and children alike:

  • Books. Can never have too many books.
  • Puzzles for the appropriate age.
  • Board games (but check what they have already)
  • Sand toys (for those that go to the beach a lot)
  • Balls
  • Building toys (blocks for littlies, lego/meccano for the older ones – but do check – there are actually some kids that aren’t into lego)
  • Art kits
  • Science kits
  • Dress ups
  • Something you made for them – well, it will completely delight me.
  • The box it all came in. Always.

Happy shopping/making!

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Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to gifts? (While remaining very grateful, of course.)


8 thoughts on “Buying presents for kids that parents won’t hate

  1. Collette says:

    Pet peeve – for boys guns and anything to do with war or violence. For girls – make up or nail polish etc when they are too young to wear it. I’m with you on the gender thing to, but really my biggest is anything that looks like it has come out of a ‘present box’. No thought pisses me off. Every year my 7 year old gets something complete age-inappropriate from a close family member and I just feel sorry for the little fella. He’s never complained, but you can see that he’s a bit disappointed he’ll have to wait five years before he can fit into those PJs.
    Collette recently posted…Six Ways to Manage the Christmas MayhemMy Profile

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