Children all across the world are dreaming of the wonderful toys they’ll be receiving for the holidays … while their parents pray that the toys their children are gifted don’t drive them to the brink of madness before January 1. If you have children on your gift list this year, their parents would like you to be aware of the five worst types of toys to give them…
1. Toys that make horrific sounds. I thought this would be a no-brainier, but since people seem to still believe that a kazoo is an appropriate gift to give a child, maybe it bears explanation.
If you one day find yourself about to buy a Tickle Me Elmo, or some other toy which sings a song/ repeats a phrase/ makes a noise, and plan to give that toy as a gift, I want you to do me a favor. Buy the toy. Find a small bathroom . Lock yourself in it for 48 hours with the toy. During the next 48 hours, play that toy at 5 minute intervals. At the end of the 48 hours, presuming you are still sane, ask yourself whether you think that this toy is still a good gift, or perhaps it is an instrument of torture best suited to an episode of Homeland. I hope you kept your receipt.
2. Toys that make a mess. If you care at all for the parents of the child receiving this gift, I BEG you not give a gift with a glitter component. I don’t care if it’s a glitter craft set or a Barbie Loves Glitter doll. Glitter has been described as the herpes of the art world, but I think that’s being too kind. Despite the fact in 2005 I banned glitter from our house as a controlled substance, I am still finding pieces of that shit when I least expect it. Either I unknowingly adopted Kesha or there is simply no way to rid your house of glitter other than to burn it to the ground.
I can’t talk about messy toys without giving calling out the official toy of the Devil’s Playground, Moon Sand. This unholy invention is a form of sticky sand that will NEVER form the shapes shown in the commercials, and will leave clumps of purple and blue sand in every crevice of your home. If you choose to give Moon Sand as a gift, I would make sure you have crossed state lines before the child begins their first Moon Sand adventure.
3. Toys that have a life of their own. Once upon a time, my son was given a toy BBQ that had no off switch. Any time it sensed a movement within 3 feet of its grill, its eyes flew open, it started to sizzle and it’s motorized mouth began to shout out fun BBQ phrases. One night I finally put it out with the trash, and an hour later, I could still hear it yelling at passersby, offering more ketchup for their hot dogs.
As disturbing as the talking BBQ was, there is probably no scarier gift you can give someone than a Furby. Did you see Gremlins? Did you see when the cute little critters turned into nasty, crazed demons? That’s what your hard-earned $60.00 is going towards. A Furby starts out as a cuddly, sweet creature, but it is designed to change personalities as you play with it. The voice changes, the LED eyes change, and just when it starts terrorizing your family, you realize there is no way to turn it off. Unless you literally unscrew its batteries out, you must wait for it to go to sleep and then kill it. Did I mention that it has no volume control and doesn’t speak English? It’s essentially gifting someone with a two year old.
4. Toys that require more work for the parent. You also need to consider the other ways the toy is going to affect the lifestyle of the recipient’s parents. For example, if you buy a child a Baby Alive doll, the child will be feeding the doll nasty green Baby Alive baby food which the doll will then poop into tiny Baby Alive diapers. There are two problems with this. First, the poor parents will be the ones having to mix up the packets of baby food, helping change the doll, and then thoroughly cleaning and drying the doll daily to prevent the baby food from molding inside the doll. If I wanted another baby to take care of, I’d have one- I don’t need to be caring for Baby Alive. It took foreverty for my kids to get out of diapers, I’m not going back now. Nor do I want to start buying diapers again, which brings us to problem number two, when the parents have to spend more money on upkeep of the gift than you spent buying it. Baby Alive comes with three diapers, so after that- the parents are keeping Baby Alive fed and diapered. The same principle applies to the gifting of the Easy Bake Oven. The oven comes with enough batter to make two “cakes” the size and consistency of communion wafers, requiring the recipient’s parents to purchase the refills. You may as well take my kid to Chuck E. Cheese, give them a quarter and tell them their mom will have to foot the rest of the bill. Thanks, but no thanks.
5. Toys that are totally inappropriate. On a final note, when in doubt as to whether a gift is appropriate for a child, you can easily resolve the issue this way: If you are questioning whether the toy is appropriate, it’s not. Period.
Happy Holiday Shopping!