This isn’t about dangerous toys. I honestly wouldn’t even know where to begin such a list. When I was a kid, if you wore a bike helmet you were King Dork of Nerd Mountain. Nowadays, you need a helmet just to ride the school bus or you’ll end up suing the NFL. The standards for safety have changed so drastically that I’ve pretty much stopped giving my kid anything that has corners. I’m not even joking: my son has never had a Saltine.
Instead, this list is about the worst gifts for kids. Not all kids, like I said, I can’t speak to that. But the worst gifts to buy your own children. I don’t give a shit what my neighbors give their kids. At least not until my son sees whatever cool new toy Rohan-across-the-street’s parents bought him and starts waking me up in the middle of the night screaming for it. I swear to god, last week I found my kid at his little desk with a stack of papers with “No ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates’ Hideout Toy Makes Me a Dull Boy” scribbled all over them in crayon. He wrote “NAP RETEP” in red lipstick on the back of my bedroom door. It was fucking terrifying. When did Christmas become so cutthroat?
The kid is making Christmas annoying before he’s even gotten the toys, and we all know pretty much every toy for kids under 15 is the most annoying thing on earth. So I made a list of stuff to avoid, if you’re into avoiding brain aneurysms.
12 Gifts You Should Avoid Giving Your Children
A New Sibling – You’re joking, right?
A Pet – Do you want a pet? Because after about six hours, when your kids pass out from the candy and the excitement and the chloroform (no judgment here), that pet will be yours. FOREVER. This is not a gift for your kids, it’s a punishment for yourself. Don’t be a sap.
A Drum Kit – We got one for our son last year and I’ve never hated myself more. What was I thinking? It’s like the number one rule of parenting: don’t give your kids a drum kit. Or any musical instruments. In fact…
Anything That Makes Noise – Giving your kid a talking Elmo or a talking Buzz or a train whistle or a fake computer or anything else that makes sounds is a recipe for a migraine. Do you like migraines? I DIDN’T THINK SO.
A Smartphone – If your kid is under 10 and they own a smartphone? Congratulations, you win the Asshole Parent award. I’m an adult and my wife doesn’t even trust me with my iPhone, you think we’re gonna trust a tween or a twerp or whatever the marketing lingo is for tiny idiots these days? I’m dumb but I’m not that dumb. I’m getting my son a calculator watch.
Plastic Guns – Thankfully this isn’t an option, because Congress recently extended the ban on plastic guns. So you’re protected from your own stupidity. Thank you, government!
Real Guns – I take that back. You can still get as many real guns for your kids as you want. How absurd. Some of these things are so elaborate you can hardly even call them guns. You might as well sit your kid behind a tank. Jesus Christ this country sucks.
A Football – I love football as much as the next red-blooded American (Go Dolphins!). But I love my son’s ability to stay healthy and live past the age of 50 just a little bit more, so I think it’s time to ease up on glorifying the playing of the sport. I’ll probably still watch games with him – I mean, I grew up watching “CHiPs” and I never thought being a motorcycle cop was anything less than stupid, so I think it’s okay for him to be a spectator – but I’m not going to give him any more of the accessories that go with playing it.
Stuff That You Need to Inflate – For his birthday we got our son an inflatable tee-ball tee and now I’m on the list for a lung transplant. You’ve been warned.
A Computer – maybe we should teach out kids some practical stuff for a change, like how to build a fire or swing a baseball bat. Get their faces outta the screens. (Actually, I don’t have a big problem with my son learning how to use technology at an early age, I’m just broke.)
A DVD of Your Kid’s Favorite Movie – Feel like watching the same movie 8000 times until you want to tear Woody’s limbs off yourself? Get your kid a book. And a reading tutor, so you don’t have to read it to him.
Girl Stuff for Boys or Boy Stuff for Girls – actually this is totally fine, whatever makes your kid happy (aside from the other stuff on this list, of course). Don’t be a bigot.
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