Lying innocently under your tree could be something so destructive that its unveiling will threaten to spoil Christmas Day. (If something else hasn’t already).
However well-meant, this beautifully wrapped present, once unveiled, will result in broken hearts, tantrums and general spoilt behaviour, bringing misery to parents and grandparents as they battle to assemble, mend or ration the gift in question.
Here are 8 presents you could really do without on Christmas Day:
Anything that breaks easily
A toy that disintegrates within seconds of being manhandled by its chubby-handed new owner can cause everyone untold grief. Avoid buying your child anything that looks flimsy or delicate or has small pieces that can be crushed to bits by a stampeding Startrite shoe.
Anything screwed into a box that can’t be got out immediately
My God these things do my head in. The amount of times I’ve bought a toy model car only to find that it is bolted in to its cardboard box…. One particular truck from TK Max is permanently welded to its plastic pedestal, rendering it unusable. Why sell something like that in a toy section? If in doubt, ask whether tools are needed to extract the toy from its packaging.
Anything you have to play with too
It’s great that your child wants you to share in the delight of their new toy but if it only functions with your input, Christmas Day will be tricky. Things to avoid: remote controlled boats, ponies, train sets.
Anything you will have to moderate the use of
Depending on your parenting style and the age of your child this could include DVDs, tablets, games consoles and water pistols.
Anything that will take you more than 30 minutes to build
In the name of Christmas, you can presumably give up a few minutes to help your child with their new Lego set or put together a scooter or balance bike. What you don’t want, however, is to be out in the garage hand painting a model aircraft or in the garden assembling a complicated climbing frame.
Anything that makes them go crazy
Chocolate coins. Sugar canes. One-penny sweets. Chocolate reindeer. Sugar mice.
Anything that will make their sibling jealous
Christmas Day is stressful enough and then your child opens a present that their sibling falls in love with too. The rest of the day is a blur of crying, shouting, hair-pulling, naughty cupboards and parent-controlled-sharing. If this shit situation does occur, you’re probably better off confiscating the said present until after Christmas.
Anything that you desperately want them to like
You’ve got to manage your own expectations. If you’re not mentally strong enough for your daughter to reject the vintage dolls house you’ve been decorating for her since she was born, just don’t go there.
Children can be cruel even, nay particularly, on Christmas Day …