I am deep into Christmas break with my kids and as we come into the home stretch, I am already noticing that some Christmas presents are just “meh” to them. Toys I would have DIED to have as a kid are taking a backseat to, shall we say, simpler pleasures. Of course the video game systems are still a big hit and probably will be for a long time but some of the lesser gifts pale in comparison to their perennial favorites. And these favorites are largely not toys, but adult items that kids like better than toys. Knowing how much I spent on Christmas, it kind of makes me want to slap myself that I haven’t figured it out after all these years that kids get bored of most toys pretty quickly but again, I do not learn from pain. Enjoy this photographic tour of my kid-destroyed house (dammit, winter break), as I took photos of these items that my kids treasure in their natural habitats.

1. Notebooks 

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When Target has their back-to-school clearance in October, I stock up on the 32 cent notebooks. My kids fill them up like there’s no tomorrow and would rather have a blank notebook than just about anything else. Oh, and the clipboard was a $2.99 TJ Maxx find and naturally, is one of the girl’s favorite gifts.

2. Couch Cushions

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I put my upstairs couch back together every.single.day. It’s a fort, it’s a landing pad, it’s a “floor bed” and just about anything else their imaginations come up with. If I bought them their own giant pillows to play with, I guarantee they would still want my couch cushions. And please note the giant turquoise stain on the couch from a marker explosion. It’s a glamorous life I lead.

3. Empty Water Bottles

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They kick them around and toss them back and forth, like sad little extras from Annie playing in an alley. I will never understand it. These are currently with other recyclables that need to be taken to the bin downstairs but I’m sure they will be put into action before that can happen.

4. Paper Clips And Clothes Pins

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Anything that can hold shit together, they are all over it. I use clothes pins to seal cereal and potato chip bags but they constantly go missing because they are apparently coveted toys. Along with his penny portfolio (don’t ask), clothes pins are my little guy’s fave.

5. Paper Towel Cardboard

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Lots of possibilities here. We see recyclables, they see a sword, a telescope, a Barbie house chimney, etc. And isn’t her closet lovely? The abandoned knitting project is a recent addition.