A few weeks ago, my friends and I sat around the booth at our local TGI Friday’s and we were chatting about all things Christmas. I asked, “What are you buying my son for Christmas?”
I really don’t know why I asked the question, because I knew the response would leave me trying to stab them with my stare.
“We were thinking about buying a drum set.” Have my friends completely lost their minds? Obviously they must have lost their minds. Even if it was meant as a joke, it wasn’t funny at all.
“Are you going to be keeping this drum set at your house?” I questioned.
“Nope, it’s going to stay at your house.” they all replied in unison. I swear my friends completely hate me.
They were extremely lucky that the conversation moved on pretty quickly after that, because I was beyond staring at them and pretty much moved on to glaring.
As a single, working mom of a young son, I have quickly learned what things drive me absolutely insane – and I avoid them like the plague. And at the very top of my list is noisy toys.
I’m already exhausted 99% of the time because of work, maintaining a home, and in general my son’s never-ending energy, why would I willingly add noisy toys to the mix? So I could completely go brain-dead? I don’t think so…
In thinking through this conversation again recently, I decided to share 9 things that you should NOT buy my son (or any other young child, for that matter) for Christmas. This is a great list for those family members or friends trying to figure out what they get that young child in your life – it’s easier to know what NOT to get than explain what you can buy. Hope you enjoy it!
- Noisy gifts
It may seem like a simple thing, but I assure you it is not. Do you know how many toys my son has received from well-meaning friends and family that he’s NEVER played with? I still have them, of course, I would never throw them out but I just sensed how it was going to go if I kept those noisy toys in my son’s presence. Some of you well-meaning friends and family even surprised me by sending the gift already wrapped, but that didn’t work – I opened them all up and re-wrapped them. Ha, you really thought that was going to work??!! Nope!
Stay away from these kinds of noisy toys when shopping for my young child – anything with a propeller or engine, musical instruments, and anything that makes enough noise in the store that you jump up when it comes on and look around to see if anyone saw what you did.
- Gifts that require us to leave the warmth of our house to enjoy.
Do you realize that Christmas time in Jersey means that it’s really cold? Please…I beg of you…don’t buy any gifts that require us to go outside to use it. Because I assure you, the last thing I want to do on Christmas morning is run outside in the cold trying to catch my son and his new toy. His birthday is in July – try buying an outside toy at that point.
Stay away from these kinds of toys – playground set, kites, remote controlled cars and airplanes, and bicycles.
- No cell phones, no iPhones, no iPads…
A friend recently asked me if he could grab an iPhone or iPad for my son. Did he forget that my son is only 3??!! While I admire his expensive taste, I quickly responded No. I refuse to have a product for my son that is so expensive that I couldn’t afford to replace it if it got broken. Do you know how many times my son has thrown his Nabi in a fit of rage after his recent battle with Sonic didn’t go that well? The Nabi is not that expensive, and I still cringe when I see him throw it. I’ve had conversation after conversation with him about controlling his temper and not throwing things because he’s mad, but no avail. He’s 3 – he understands our conversations, but in a fit of rage, he follows his gut and his gut says loudly, “Throw it…throw it!”
Stay away from any electronic equipment or accessories that is $200 or more. No need to impress Mommy with the gift – my son is still only 3!
- The gift that keeps on costing Mommy money.
Have you ever received a 1-month subscription for your child to try something out? What do you if your child likes it? Then, you’d probably have to continue the subscription, which of course costs the same as your rent (well, it seems like it doesn’t it?). Unless it’s a subscription to something that we already have, don’t waste your money. Very likely, he’ll only play with his new subscription for a day or two before just walking away from it for good. And if he does like it, I’ll only stare at you with daggers in my eyes every time I see you from this point forward. Do you really want that?
Last year, my son received one of the LeapPad products. Do you know how many accessories and extra books come with the LeapPad products? Yeah, the product itself is inexpensive, but before you know it, you’ve spent $100 in accessories alone. Mommy does not want to have to keep buying these extra goodies for the LeapPad. Please, don’t start this never-ending purchase.
Have you stepped on a Lego in the middle of the night while navigating to your kitchen in the middle of the night? Yeah, I’ve heard it’s pretty painful. Guess what? I’ve never had it happen to me. You know why? I don’t have Legos in my house. Please, don’t introduce Legos into my household. I might just have to disown you if I do step on a Lego in the middle of the night. Stay away from the Legos…
- Any giftsthat is waaaaay above his age range.
Last year, I received a toy for my son that was appropriate for kids aged 8-12. Once again, my son is 3. Do you really think that I’m holding on to that present until he is 8? Or do you really think that I was going to give him the present when he’s 3 (well, he was 2 at the time – but that’s even worse!)? Absolutely not! Focus on gifts that max out at 5 years old. There’s nothing this parent hates more than an age-inappropriate toys (well, except for noisy toys). A nice little kid received that gift from the Secret Santa at my son’s school. I’m sure that child is extremely grateful for the present. Thanks!
- Any gifts that require 10 million batteries.
My son received a toy last year that required 12 AA batteries – 12! As each battery fell out of the holder, I cringed. Do you remember those days where toys took like 6 DD batteries and when the juice would run out, you would completely lose your mind when you couldn’t find the stash of DD batteries? Or you would take them out of your flashlights to keep your toy going? That’s how I felt as I took out each battery from this toy. I’m not going to name the toy because honestly, I don’t know where it is. You see, I was going to replace the batteries because the batteries died, but when I saw how many batteries it needed, I hid it somewhere in my house and to this day, I have no clue where it is. So, well-meaning friends and family, read the labels! If it says it holds anything more than 2-4 batteries, just put it down and walk away.
- Any gifts that requires a trip to the vet at some point.
No kittens, no puppies, no hamsters, no fish – these will all make Mommy a very unhappy lady. That should definitely be in a Dr. Seuss book, don’t you agree? My well-meaning friends and family, I don’t have any pets in my house, please don’t suggest or purchase pets for my son! Of course, I do love pets, I really do, but they require a lot of and attention, more than I have right now to offer. Because honestly, who will be taking care of a pet? Me, of course! It’s possibly that one day soon I will decide to take the leap, but it’s definitely not going to happen soon. So please, stay away from the pet stores and the local shelters this Christmas…
- Elf on the Shelf
I have not been an Elf on the Shelf fan since the epidemic started. It has been really cute to see pictures on Facebook and other blogs, but it is just not the right thing for my household. I can’t imagine coming up with a name for the elf, or finding new places to put it, or just seeing it around my house. I honestly think they are creepy up close. So dear friends and family, please don’t spend your money to get an Elf on the Shelf for us. It will be a complete waste of money.
I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful wench because I’m quite the opposite, I am so incredibly grateful for all of the gifts that my son receives each year. It lets me know that we are both very loved by our friends and family. But honestly, if I get one more police car where each movement it makes requires a noise that makes my neighbors run outside to see if the cops are really at my apartment complex, I will literally scream my head off. It’s tough enough being a single mom, I honestly don’t need anything that is going to drive me completely insane.