8 Worst Holiday Gifts for Kids (Or, For Their Parents)

I recently wrote a post for Fat Wallet’s blog about the ten worst holiday gifts this year, and it got me thinking.  We spend so much time trying to find great gifts for our partner, our parents and our friends, but we’re not always as diligent when it comes to choosing gifts for the children in our lives.  Although we tend to think that children will be happy with almost anything, there are some gifts that they’ll be sure to hate.  What’s more, there are some gifts that children may love but their parents may hate, which of course will leave you in the doghouse, even if you become a favorite aunt or uncle.  So, without further ado, here’s my list for the eight worst holiday gifts for children in 2010.  I hope that adhering to this list will enable you to score points as fun adult this holiday season.

  1. Candy.  Every kid loves getting candy, but there are a few problems with this gift idea.  For starters, candy is a rather ephemeral gift.  Why would you want to be the favorite adult for only five minutes, while leaving a permanent spot open for the person who gives the kids something they can enjoy after the party as well?  And, of course, if you’re giving candy to children who aren’t yours, the parents will resent you for making their kids hyper and contributing to their expensive dental bills.  So, I’m going to suggest you skip the candy as a holiday gift this year.
  2. Money.  Gifting cash seems like an easy solution to the annual ‘what should I buy a kid’ conundrum, doesn’t it?   But if you consider that it giving a child cash may be just as useful as burning it with a match, you may want to reconsider.  If the child’s parents make him (or her) save the money, your gift won’t be appreciated by the child at all.  If the child is allowed to spend the cash, he’ll probably purchase something you consider ridiculous, like 10 packets of slime or yet another video game that will get lost in the shuffle.  And, of course, there’s always the chance that the child will choose to buy candy, which brings me back to my point above.
  3. Drums.  A gift guaranteed to be loved by children and despised by all adults (except for you, of course, since you’ll be the hero).  Drums often seem like a great idea, until the ghastly noise permeates every corner of your brain.  And, of course, in order to master the drums, a child will need lessons, which makes the gift about ten times more complex.  So, unless you’re going to foot the bill for the lessons and requisite earplugs, you may want to keep the drums far away from any children you know.
  4. Gloves.  Let’s face it – you can probably count the length of time that a child can find a matching set of gloves in seconds, not minutes.
  5. Anything requiring parental supervision.  Your child may fall in love with the easy-bake oven you bought as a holiday gift, but she’ll love you less if you don’t find time to do it with her.  Not only will it make a mess, but it’ll a significant time investment, which is, unfortunately, not something that every parent can afford regularly.
  6. Educational video games.  Are you trying to insinuate that your child/niece/nephew/godchild isn’t smart enough?  Or that they’re not too great at human interaction?  Perhaps you’re trying to prove that you’re a ‘serious’ adult, or that hours of video games aren’t harmful for children?  No matter what your intentions are, you probably won’t be hitting your mark by gifting educational video games.
  7. Inappropriate clothing.  I’m relatively certain that no explanation is required for this one.
  8. A pet.  Believe me when I tell you, a pet is a gift that keeps on giving.  And it may not always give back in a positive way.

So, before you head out to buy gifts for the little ones in your life, consider this list, think about how you can truly become a superhero, and make a responsible purchase.  Parents and children will thank you.

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