All I Want For Christmas Is An Easy To Open Hanukkah Gift For My Kids

shutterstock_121336066It’s not that I don’t agree with kids getting Hanukkah gifts or Christmas gifts, because let’s face it, for children, it’s all about the gifts. I am slightly mortified by all the cost that goes into buying these gifts, which in my opinion is way too many. But my biggest problem with gifts is that while it takes only 30 seconds to rip open the presents, it takes mommy and daddy FOUR hours to unwrap the packaging.

For example, I had two family Hanukkah parties, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. The first was with my family, where my daughter, son and stepchildren each received eight presents. The next day, we went to my fiancé’s sister’s house, where again, each child received eight gifts from all the family members. That’s 64 gifts we had to load in our trunk and then unload into the house. And they were good gifts.

But even my daughter’s Monster High Dolls took me 15 minutes to open and unwind all the wiring that holds the pieces in place. I feel like saying to manufacturers, “Hey, it’s great that you care so much that a toddler can’t get into the gift, but you do know that even us ADULTS can’t open them either!” And don’t even get me started on my baby’s toys. He got a lot of trucks, some sort of aquarium thing that lights up, and other battery-operated gifts. So, first the knives and scissors come out so that we can open the box. And then it takes us at least 20 minutes to unwind all the wiring that attaches all the pieces to the box. After that, I need a nap.

But, anyway, the process is not over. Because after you’ve used your knives and scissors and get the darn gift out, you realize that – duh! – you need 18 batteries (which you don’t have) to make the toys make sounds and move and do what they are supposed to do. And, of course, they aren’t just double A’s. They are usually some sort of special battery, and all you’re thinking is, “I just spent hours at parties. I’m tired. I’ll get the batteries another time.” And then you realize that not only do you need batteries, you need a little screwdriver to open the part where you put the batteries in.

Honestly, the best gift anyone could give me this season is one of those little screwdrivers that opens the place where you have to put the batteries in, because I know we have one somewhere, but of course I have no idea where. Also, while I appreciate that manufacturers are trying to be as safe as possible, all those wirings end up on the floor and my dog could eat those (because he’s not the smartest dog) or my baby could (because he’s not the smartest baby, but that’s because he’s a baby.)

Nevermind the paper cuts I seem to get while ripping open these cardboard boxes. I suggest that when you buy toys that need batteries and screwdrivers and hours to take out of their boxes, one should also throw in a scissors, the batteries that are needed, the mini screwdriver that is needed, a few Band-Aids for parents who get paper cuts, and also a box of garbage bags for all the crap that surrounds these toys.

Getting presents are fun. Unwrapping them is fun. But, actually opening the damn things? Not so fun. That’s why, even though we received 64 gifts for our kids, only a handful have been actually opened to use.

These days, opening presents and getting them out of a box is a full-time job. I can’t do math very well, but let’s say 30 of the gifts required mommy and daddy to unwind all the wires, find batteries, the screw driver, and make the darn things work. Let’s say it would take an estimated 15 minutes for each, which is practically a full day’s worth of work.

Please, Santa. All I want for Christmas is an easy to open gift. Or a mini screwdriver. I’ve been (mostly) a good girl. Thanks.

(photo: MaleWitc/ Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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    • Sara

      Isn’t your daughter nine years old? And aren’t your stepdaughters older than that? (Something is making me think they’re in the 12-14-year-old range, but maybe I’m making that up….) Whatever the case may be, I think they’re old enough to open and put the batteries into their own presents.

      And why do your family members feel the need to give each kid eight presents at each party? That’s a crazy amount of presents–I’m Jewish too, and I’ve never been to a Hanukkah party where the expectation was that each kid would get eight presents in one night. The idea is that you get eight gifts–maybe, not all Jewish kids even get that many–spread out over the whole holiday. If your article is accurate, your kids got twice as many gifts IN TWO NIGHTS as most kids get in a whole Hanukkah.
      If the number of presents is an inconvenience, how about explaining to the family that the kids don’t need so many presents and you’re focusing on other, non-materialistic ways to enjoy the holiday as a family? Asking them to limit themselves to two or three gifts–max–per kid, per party. That’s still four to six presents for a single kid in two nights, which is more than any kid needs. The rest of the time can be spent baking together, going to the movies, sledding, whatever. But when you say that for kids, “it’s all about the presents”, I think you may be underestimating a lot of kids (at least judging from the ones I know). There are a lot of families, especially at this particular moment, who would be more than happy to just spend time together and enjoy each other’s company this holiday.

      • Not That Rebecca

        Yup. It can be hard, especially for the family members without kids who want to go nuts on the nieces and nephews and grandkids, but it is worth it to lay out some boundaries. There is a happy medium between Scrooge and an orgy of consumerism, and it’s up to parents to work for it, whatever the kids and relatives may say1

    • Can’tSignIn

      I know what you mean, Rebecca. My son just had his 1st birthday party, and it took a long time to get the toys out of the packaging and prep them for use. And then, some require assembly too. We ended up only unpackaging 2 toys per day over the next few days, because each one took so long. There’s still one that we can’t get into, because there’s a piece of plastic tightly against the cardboard, attached with a screw. We can’t cut it off, we can’t pull it apart or tear it off, and we don’t have that kind of screwdriver. We’ll hopefully get around to it before he turns 2.

    • li

      Maybe ask for less presents, or homemade gifts or one big joint gift? Funny, I always thought Jewish kids got 1 gift a night for 8 nights…Clearly not Jewish and not sure about the traditions…but this really seems excessive and spoiled. Stop bitching and tone it down. Those boxes are a pain, but not such a big deal when you just have a couple to deal with.

    • http://www.facebook.com/valanti.gasparis Valanti Angelo Gasparis

      First world problems! What a lame article! Coming from Europe, I have to say this piece of writing reinforces negative stereotypes about American and Jewish people (that they are extremely matterialistic and so on). PS: Unboxing was always half my joy of getting a new present why would you deprive your children of it?

      • Ages

        She’s not American, dumass.