Tuesday 2 December 2008


No thank you

The holidays are fast approaching and the question on everyone's lips is 'What do I get the kids for Christmas?" They're still so little, and I'm nervous about setting a precedent for profligacy that will lead to years of expectation and escalation. But everyone's asking us what to get the kids for Christmas and I'm not sure what to answer... So, being a negative sort of person, here's some things I don't want them to get. This is by no means a comprehensive list, some go without saying. Like nunchucks. Or a subscription to Hustler. Or My First Crystal Meth Home Chemistry Set.
I've sorted my no thank you gifts into rough categories:

The gifts that set a bad precedent

We all want to give our kids the things in life that we didn't have. But not this much.

If we purchased this kitchen, our real kitchen would cringe in shame.

This rideable, interactive pony offers "pony motion, pony sounds and pony friendship". I think it's the pony friendship that's so expensive, I could do pony motion and pony sounds with a piggyback.

A life-size, rideable, interactive baby dinosaur. Nevermind where you'd put it.

Look how smug these kids look. It probably because their parents are driving around in a ten year old, beat up minivan. Or maybe that's just us.

Bad ideas

Do you work hard trying to get your child into proper routines? In one fell swoop, ruin years of your hard work with one of these gifts!

'In the Night Garden Upsy Daisy and her Chase and Play Bed' I'm having enough trouble keeping Jamie in his bed without a toy glorifying the chase / bed dichotomy. I suppose the saving grace of this gift is that it is the bed that is being chased, not the toy. Bit like getting your toilet training toddler a doll that needs the loo but the toilet won't stop moving so they have to go in their pants.
'Don't wake Dad!' I'm all for this as a mantra, but as a game? Here is the spec: "Will you wake dad and get sent back to bed or will you successfully tip-toe around... Take care as there are hazards" Was this game manufactured by Jamie Inc?! I can tell you, we are living in this game and it's not a fun 'un.

WTF?? (sorry Mom, I didn't coin the phrase...)

The gift market is so overloaded and competitive, how does a retailer set their gift apart from scores of similar items? By adding an element that makes you think WTF of course!

'Puppy Grows and Knows Your Name' Watching the commercial for this puppy, you see the puppy getting bigger, learning tricks, wagging it's tail and you think 'Hmm, that's not too bad, it's teaching kids a sanitised version of dog ownership... the growing, the learning, the moving..." And then the dog turns its flat button eyes to camera and says "My name is Satan". Or something similar, I repressed the memory.'Baby Born Baby, Horse, Car and Trailer' There are lots of baby dolls offering 'realistic' functions... they eat, and pee, blink, sleep, learn to talk, sit in buggies, you can comb their hair, and dress them, change their nappies. These babies do almost all the things your baby might. Childcare professionals suggest that if your trying to get a toddler used to the idea that a sibling is on the way, get them a toy baby. But don't get them this baby. This one drives a car (pulling a horse trailer no less), dressed in her finest riding gear, and then rides an actual moving horse. Later, baby goes for an un-aided swim. And drives a motorboat. Guaranteed to give your toddler sleepless nights and an inferiority complex as he worries about the freaky addition to the family, who not only will be lavished with expensive accoutrements like cars, boats and horses, but will be also be capable of superhuman feats when he can't even put his underwear on the right way round.


  1. These are insane presents! And you know your kid will only play with them for a day, and thn go back to play with their $2 football.

  2. This list made my day! When we were playing with the giant interactive pony and dinosaur at the store I was thinking where in the heck would this thing live?

  3. LOL! I have actually seen the pony at Target here. It's kind of scary. Although my daughter loved it. Who buys their children these presents?!?