10 Terrible Gifts to Give Other People’s Kids

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As the gift giving season approaches, you may find yourself searching for the perfect present for your nieces and nephews, godchildren, friends’ kids, and grandchildren. As a victim of terrible children’s gift giving and on behalf of parents everywhere, I feel compelled to draw attention to the kinds of gifts we parents absolutely don’t want you to give our kids. Please. Consider it a gift to us. 

10 Terrible Gifts to Give Other People’s Kids

1. Whistles. Imagine being trapped in a gym with 500 angry PE teachers blowing madly on their gym flutes for 7 hours straight. That’s what it’s like for us when you give our kids whistles. And it kinda makes us want to lock you and them in a linen closet together. Trust us, YOU WOULDN’T LIKE THAT.

2. Loud musical instruments. Drums, recorders, cymbals, horns. Doesn’t matter whether it bangs or toots, it’s bad, people. Real bad.

3. Play Doh. I’m guilty of this one myself. My kids don’t tend to play with it or make a big enough mess for it to bother me, but apparently other kids do. A LOT. And nobody wants to spend her Saturday afternoon repeatedly discouraging her children from eating it and picking those mashed pieces out of the carpeting.

4. Bubbles. These things rarely wind up on a stick and magically floating through the air. Instead, they end up a spilled, sticky mess all over the kitchen floor, the back porch, the kids’ clothing, and the cat’s fur within 2.4 seconds of opening them. Might as well give our kids a package of syrup to smear all over our cherished belongings. At least that tastes good.

5. Balloons. I’m not talking helium-filled party favors here. Rather, I’m talking about packages of balloons just waiting to be filled with sink water or juicy, saliva-filled kid breath. In addition to existing in a constant state of worry that they’ll inhale and choke on these things, we also have to endure the pop, pop, POPPING that accompanies a successful fill. And we’re way too young to be committed for globophobia.

6. Kids’ movies that offer no entertainment value to parents whatsoever. There are so many kids’ movies out there that offer hidden and relatable adult humor throughout. There are also so many that don’t. Please do your homework and select something that doesn’t make us want to bang our heads against a brick wall every time our little monsters want to watch it. Better yet? Preview it yourself 9-43 times. If you don’t want to stab your own eyeballs out, chances are we won’t either.

7. Anything with excessive packaging materials. Whether the thing is locked up tighter than Fort Knox or comes with packaging peanuts that seem to breed before the eyes, how long it takes to get it out of its container and how often we’re going to be picking those Styrofoam devil spawn off the floor is definitely something to consider. Ain’t nobody got the time nor the patience to spend 6 months digging it out and cleaning it up.

8. Anything that requires a degree in astrophysics to assemble.  If it calls for obscure tools even large chain hardware stores don’t carry and requires successful completion of 72 assembly steps just to get its base together, we’re good on it. It’s supposed to be a children’s toy, not a NASA space exploration pod.

9. Anything with glitter. Play Doh and bubbles might be bad, but these have got nothing on glitter. Not only does the stuff stick to everything, but it magically appears on shirt collars and faces no matter how diligently you’ve inspected yourself before leaving the house and shows up at the least opportune times: when you run into a frenemy at the store, in first conversations with strangers, and during job interviews. And let’s face it — nothing makes others wonder whether you’re moonlighting as a stripper or secretly aspiring to be a unicorn more than glitter.

10. Gifts that show up parents. There’s nothing worse than carefully selecting a few books and humble children’s toys as presents for your kids, only to be shown up when a relative surprises them with the latest gadget-filled tablet or trip to Disney. While we appreciate the sentiment, leave the big ticket gift giving to us. We’re the ones who tolerate their antics every day and have specific ideas about how we want to raise them. We deserve to be the heroes.

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