Gift giving is an all-year occurrence with kids. Christmas, Birthdays, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Arbor Day, YOUR Birthday. It’s easy to get swept up in the idea that you need to buy your friend’s kids presents! It’s also super easy to buy the WRONG gift and ruin your friendship forever. Here’s a (absolutely NON-comprehensive) list of what NOT to gift to the kids in your life, that are not yours:
- Candy. Sugar rush aside…candy gets EVERYWHERE. For some odd reason, kids hold chocolate in their hands until it is no longer recognizable (do YOU want to play poop or chocolate?) and get it EVERYWHERE. Lollipops and hard candies get licked and dropped. Gum WILL get in hair and on clothing. If you hate your friend, give their kid candy.
- Paint. Ohh, paint…where does one start with paint? When kids open paint, they magically splash it all over, doesn’t matter what the container is, paint in the hands of children can not be contained. Paper also can not contain paint. Paint will be on the walls, in the refrigerator, on the TV, in YOUR hair. (Which you will deserve for buying them paint)
- Crayons. See above. Crayons melt AND color. They probably have a billion crayons. Even if they think they don’t…they’ll find them in a couple of years when they finally get around to cleaning the couch.
- Toys that don’t shut off. The joke is that friends hate you if you get their kid a noisy toy. That’s half true. Noisy toys are actually fine…if they have an OFF button. The ones that I throw away are the ones that keep playing after everyone’s done with them. Press the button in the store. If you can’t turn it off, put it down and buy a gift card.
- Stuffed Animals. Oh. My. God. Teddy Bears, dogs, cats, alligators, horses. We have SO MANY stuffed animals. The thing is, stuffed animals are mostly comfort objects. They aren’t engaging, they don’t do things…they just sit there. They take up space, and are only ever used as audiences and tea party victims. A few may be used at night, but it’s likely those are the ones the kid has had FOREVER, or was a reminder of a special moment…don’t just pick up a bear ’cause kids “like stuffed animals” Kids like -stuff- that is…until they have to pick it up.
- Special items from your childhood. Did you collect Pokemon cards, and still have them now? Porcelain Dolls? Do NOT give them to your friend’s young kids, no matter how many new Pokemon Cards they have, or how many Madam Alexander dolls are on their shelf…they WILL break. In the cases of older children, you may be fine…but kids destroy things. They don’t start out as materialistic collectors. They start out as “I’m gonna hide my favorite pokemon card in my underwear, so I can take it everywhere with me and mom won’t know”…ask me how I know that…Want to give them things they’re interested in? Great…don’t give them sentimental items unless you KNOW they will take care of it.
- Live Animals. Do I have to go into detail here? I don’t think I do…
- A piece of a set. Check the box. If you just bought a Zhu Zhu pet race car without a Zhu Zhu pet, you’re an asshole. Now the parents have to buy a Zhu Zhu pet. And probably a Zhu Zhu pet house, and a Zhu Zhu pet spaceship and…I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this one.
- Things that take up space. Maybe not all parents are like me. But it REALLY irks me when my kid is given a huge gift that takes up space in her room. Talk it over with the parents first, if it’s something SO cool you HAVE to get it for them. My kid needs space in her room to do her playing, so when she has a play kitchen, a book shelf, a dress up closet, a toy shelf, a big mirror, her bed, a dresser, a dollhouse, and a tent…there’s no actual room to play!
- Sticky things. Splat hands, gooey dollar store slime, these things get SO dirty so quick. They get absolutely disgusting! Then we have to fight to throw them away!
Now, go forth, into the world, and be a good friend to the poor parents of the world!