anti-gift guide

The Anti-Gift Guide: Gifts My Kids Aren’t Ready For

anti-gift guide

Several Christmases in a row, I had to try to explain to family members why stickers just weren’t going to work as a gift for my children. There’s really no polite way to tell someone that they can’t get a particular gift and I know you might be thinking, “Why not just accept them and then do something else with them?” Because my children, not unlike their mother, are tiny chatterboxes. You will know that your gift went unused, in a drawer, or donated to someone in need of sticking sparkling ponies all over their home. So as I sat year after year, using a butter knife to peel stickers from the furniture, walls, the floor, and other toys, I decided to just begin requesting that nobody get them anything containing stickers. I’m not even sure how they kept getting everywhere. One minute, they were on the coloring books they were intended for and the next, my house was a three dimensional page in a sticker book.

While cleaning up the bedroom of my younger daughters, I began to mentally compile a list of gifts my kids aren’t quite ready for (without constant over-the-shoulder supervision and a place for me to keep them out of reach entirely), an anti-gift guide, if you will. Some of these may very well just apply to our family but maybe there will be a few that you can relate to.

As I’ve said, these seem to cling to everything. They’re enjoyable for 2.4 seconds and then I’m on my hands and knees trying to scrape them off without removing the paint on my wall.

anti-gift guide

Memory games.
This is one my mom loves to get them every year. First of all, I’m pretty sure they hate this game. I don’t know why, they just never seem very interested when I play it with them. Maybe their memories suck as badly as mine and this game is just rubbing it in their faces! Seriously though, within days of Christmas, it’s made its way into their room unsupervised and I will probably find a card in my underwear drawer, car dashboard, freezer, and in my brush by New Year’s. The real challenge to this “memory game” is remembering where you left all of the pieces!

This one might be my fault. Maybe I’ve never properly explained the appeal of a puzzle. My oldest professed her hatred for word searches today at homework time and was baffled when I told her that some people do them for fun. Apparently, despite the interests of their mom and dad, my kids aren’t into puzzles. They never ask to build a puzzle, I never see them open it, but what I do see is a puzzle piece in my shoe and in the space between the bed and the wall. Well, that puzzle is trash now because the puppy is missing an ear and his left eye. Rinse (speaking of which, I’ve found them in the sink) and repeat, replace puppy with Elsa or Minnie Mouse.

I give up on these babies. Whether I have them stashed away for me or art projects for the kids, I don’t know somebody found one until there is a new Picasso on the wall that wasn’t there yesterday. Nobody ever knows how it got there but lucky me, sometimes they sign their names. When my oldest first learned how to write her name, she drew a really gorgeous family portrait and insisted it wasn’t her. Regardless of the advanced artwork, her name written in big bold letters at the bottom kind of gave it away!

anti-gift guide

I mean, obviously my kids can handle crayons…but they have a habit of breaking them and then losing pieces. I keep crayon boxes stored away and then I will open one box and put it into the community school supply drawer. Within a few hours, I can’t find Tickle Me Pink. Then, only half of Mac and Cheese is in here. By the end of the week, the supply bin is down to Goldenrod and somebody’s rubber hairband.

It’s more me than the kids with this one. Why does it smell like that?! I can’t even describe the smell, it’s just terrible. As a kid, I know I used to have small dried crumbs of it all over the house but I’ve been lucky enough to only find big black balls of clay stuck loosely to the wall so I’m tagging this one a win.

Barbie shoes.
These are like human socks, where do they all go?! Really, why did you take them off in the first place? I guarantee you Barbie doesn’t care if her heels are blue or red and she has no need for huge snow boots. In the end, it doesn’t matter because you can’t find a single match, so either take the green boot and the blue high heel or I’m throwing all of them in the trash where they should have gone when we opened the box!

Small Legos.
They may not be ready but I don’t care! If you’ve read my previous post where I mention my affinity for Legos, you’ll understand that the Legos are definitely more for me. I vacuumed up at least three today by mistake and the helicopter we’re building might take out Lego pilot and Lego Jasmine due to missing parts, but at least I have Legos at all. We, at least we have Legos.

Bath toys with holes in them.
No matter how hard you try with this one, you can’t get the water out. Squeeze ask you want but in two weeks, that little hole at the bottom of your rubber duckie will be black and gross. If there’s a trick to avoiding this, please share it with us, but until then, no holey bath toys!

I need to admit that I was poor at taking care of these until I was like 23 so I can’t really blame the kids. I’ve actually seen them try to use DVDs as frisbees! Now, we keep all of the DVDs and CDs in a locked cabinet. If a burglar were to visit our house, boy would he be disappointed to break in to our locked storage not to find jewels or money but instead old Disney DVDs and nail polish.

Board games.
Several years ago, we saw a really neat board game and bought it for a family member’s children who are all about the same age as mine. We had no idea that it was filled with small pieces which got lost immediately. It’s okay though, they got my kids stickers that year so I’d say we were even! Haha! We made the mistake last year of buying Kerplunk, which is full of these tiny sticks. We left in the living room on Christmas and by the next day, sticks were everywhere and the game was rendered useless. I now have an entire off-limits closet full of board games that we love to play on our family fun nights, but no one may play alone. Ever. Like Jumanji.

Figures with removable limbs.
There is a doll out there similar to a Barbie…and her arms, legs, hands, and feet are removable. As if shoes weren’t enough to lose, let’s make more tiny pieces that end up in the backyard or the vacuum. What purpose there is to having removable limbs, I don’t have a clue. Creepy serial killer training maybe.

You probably won’t make this mistake, this one is all me. My seven year old wanted to start a snowglobe collection, beginning with one from my vacation. I thought this was an adorable idea and brought her home a cute Dr. Seuss one from Universal Studios. She kept it on her desk in her room and it did last a month or two but then I heard a crash and knew it was over. I told her we should collect something safer, like pictures.

My husband doesn’t learn his lesson with this one. Tablets aren’t cheap and we’ve bought two rounds of them. The first set, they broke the inputs charging them. He thought he was being clever the second time, buying a more kid-friendly kind with a rubber case on it. They worked really well until there was an argument and one kid threw it. Shattered.

Anything that plays music.
Unless you hate the recipient’s parents, this is what I would officially deem the worst gift ever. We’ve had toys that actually DO NOT have an off button. You go to lay a sleeping Junior down in his bed and all of a sudden a stuffed dog starts screaming a song about his favorite color. The repetition is enough to drive any person completely mad and trying to dispose of it is the most difficult thing ever. You think everyone is asleep and you tiptoe with it to the front door but then comes a tiny voice behind you, “Why do you have my doggy, Daddy?”

I know, you might be asking yourself, “What’s left?” We still have all of this stuff, just carefully placed under lock and key! Otherwise, you go off to go to the bathroom or do dishes and now you’ve got drawings, stickers, and dismembered dolls everywhere! It’s like a Toy Story Hoarders horror movie. Maybe just get a gift card so I can keep it in my purse until they forget it exists and then use it to buy them clothes later. 😉

What gifts are your kids just not quite ready for?!


2 thoughts on “The Anti-Gift Guide: Gifts My Kids Aren’t Ready For

  1. I have a family that is super specific about asking what my kiddo wants… or telling us before they buy it 🙂 Which comes in handy!! We keep a lot of the stuff “markers, crayons and stickers” packed away in a craft box unless we are doing an art acitivity 🙂 Makes my life a lot easier!!

    1. I keep them hidden away too! I can’t figure out where they come from lol we got stickers this year though, uh-oh!! Haha!

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