One Kid's Insane Christmas List, Annotated by Dad
December 5, 2013 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Forget the pony, forget the teddy bear -- this kid wants a little thing that can turn into anything at anytime.
posted by flyingsquirrel (166 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
"'Border collies can become aggressive due to fear. ... Do not approach or handle your dog suddenly from behind.' Great. Great. Fucking great. That is the exact wrong breed for a human child. Children will sneak up behind dogs and bash a tambourine into their heads because that's funny. You cannot have this dog."

Well, there go my future plans for an au pair.

I did like this kid's gumption though. Considering now that my in-laws are the "please provide a comprehensive list of presents you two want" type people and I'm just like "can I paste in a bunch of Amazon links?"
posted by griphus at 7:51 AM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I liked this related one with the explanation and some of the comments.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:53 AM on December 5, 2013


I know never read the comments but this cracked me up:

"A little thing that can turn into anything at anytime."

She wants an old argument with your wife?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:54 AM on December 5, 2013 [56 favorites]


Albuquerque is not the vagina painting capital of the world. That may be Abiquiu he's referring to.
My son wants a jet that travels through the earth and a house that jumps.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:57 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fun fact: She can draw horses that really look like horses

Said she could do the body okay, but never get the head
Tail or legs, I told her she was drawing sausages, not horses
She said no, they were horses
posted by nathancaswell at 7:57 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Pants and Tits" is also the nickname the tabloids gave to Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi.

Help I'm choking here
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:58 AM on December 5, 2013


This is my favorite letter to Santa I've seen this year.
posted by pony707 at 8:00 AM on December 5, 2013 [19 favorites]


I once met someone who worked as a Santa in Macy's, and asked him what the craziest thing he'd been asked for was. I was expecting something like this.

....Turned out that it was "a specific house in a specific street in Philadelphia". And then he went on to elaborate by saying that the kid's parents had recently divorced, and the specific house was next door to where Dad now lived and the kid figured that asking for the parents to get back together may be pushing it, but hey if they lived next door that would be a kinda okay compromise, so....and then I got all depressed instead. :-P

The moral is, exercise caution when asking department store Santas to share stories.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:01 AM on December 5, 2013 [18 favorites]


Said she could do the body okay, but never get the head
Tail or legs, I told her she was drawing sausages, not horses
She said no, they were horses


Torsey, the Torso Horse!
posted by kmz at 8:01 AM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


In one of the old Freak Brothers comics, Fat Freddy got a job as a grotto Santa and the first little kid to sit on his knee said he wanted to 'score a key.'
posted by colie at 8:06 AM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Saige is a super pretty doll. Lucky kid. 2014 AG doll is pretty crap, though (she's a blond ballet dancer, snooze!)

My Christmas lists were always illustrated and were usually like . . . American Girl doll and a bunch of Super Mario Bro figurines which I wasn't sure existed but I hoped did.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:11 AM on December 5, 2013


From the article's comments:

"This list is a complete parenting fail. With something like a Christmas list you need to get out in front of it. My wife saw something on pinterest last year that we used with our children and it worked well. Basically you have the kid make a list comprised of four things and it is formatted like this:

For Christmas I want_______________,
I need _________________,
I would wear __________________
and I would read _______________.

Four things appropriately categorized. Done and done. Now, you will probably get them more than four presents, but the list helps manage their expectations."

In response, someone suggested adding, "and I think others need__________"
posted by zarq at 8:13 AM on December 5, 2013 [37 favorites]


Books officially do not count as Christmas presents for people under 16.
posted by colie at 8:14 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just intercepted the santa wish list for my daughters, so this deadspin list hits close to home. I love how disconnected kids are to the cost of stuff, and what things could actually be called presents (bananas?). I really do.

Dear Santa,
iPod 5, bananas, a wii U, sparkly jell pens, a necktie, a trumpet, a bed but p.s. not a bunk bed, different kinds of gum, a duct tape kit, wool mittens, and a digital camera with a red case.

posted by mcstayinskool at 8:14 AM on December 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also, this:
"Monster High ear buds." This is Monster High, and it's completely fucked. It's like someone at Mattel held up a market research study and screamed, "Our Barbie dolls aren't causing as much body dysmorphia in children as they used to! MAKE ME A LINE OF BULIMIC VAMPIRE DOLLS OR YOU'RE ALL FUCKING FIRED." How are these toys even legal? It's like handing your child a Steve Madden ad.

... is so true. My daughter got a couple of those dolls for Hanukkah and kinda I'm hoping she never plays with them.
posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was pleased with "Justice". I choose to ignore later reading that it's a clothing brand name and that it was part of "Justice black jacket". I choose to believe that the kid wants justice, and a black jacket.
posted by Flunkie at 8:15 AM on December 5, 2013 [21 favorites]


That Dad is soooooooooooooooooo from Boston. Also, he's about my age. How do I know?

Reference to Rob Gronkowski: OK, so I suppose he could be from elsewhere in New England, although the Pats devotion is really strongest here in Massachusetts.

Reference to Harvard grade inflation: Only people at BU and MIT cared about this. Maybe Yalies? But no one hates Harvard students like another Boston college student.

Calls his mother Ma: He's from fucking Stoneham, isn't he?
posted by maryr at 8:17 AM on December 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


BTW, that Justice store just provided me much fuel for my ridiculous Tumblr. Thanks, marketing!
posted by maryr at 8:20 AM on December 5, 2013


Self link, but this was my son's note to the "Tooth Fairy" the other night. He's long since stopped believing in such things but that won't stop him from trying to get money out of me.

He lost another tooth last night and we told him that was it for the "Tooth Fairy."
posted by bondcliff at 8:21 AM on December 5, 2013 [31 favorites]


That Dad is soooooooooooooooooo from Boston.

I really hope so because his responses are so much funnier in a Boston accent.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:22 AM on December 5, 2013


Books officially do not count as Christmas presents for people under 16.

So of all things, a Christmas episode of Family Matters always stuck in my head as a sort of water mark of maturity. Watching it as a kid, Eddie gets a new leather jacket and I'm sitting there thinking "what a horrible gift! He could've had a Nintendo or some action figures not useless cloths!" or something along those lines.

Years later, in my early 20s, I'm thinking "fuck, a new leather jacket that I do not have to pay for would be awesome."

So then I stole my mother's.
posted by griphus at 8:25 AM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Only people at BU and MIT cared about this.

I see you didn't attend the University of Chicago.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:25 AM on December 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


In early November my five-year old sat down with a few ads (Target, Wal-Mart, et al.) from the newspaper and dictated a SEVEN-PAGE LIST to her older sister. We responded with cackling. The boys limited themselves to both sides of one sheet each, but each of theirs had an up-front cost of several thousand dollars.

Oh, we may find a way to get them a couple of the things they want, but…who's going to pay for the iPhone data plan, kid? You got a hundred bucks a month to send to Verizon? Who's going to walk the dog that your brother is allergic to? And if you all get all the Internet-enabled toys you asked for, who wants to sit on hold with the cable company and the phone company to switch us over to FIOS to handle the bandwidth spikes?

I groaned about this to my mom last week: worst of all, we give the grandparents our best gift ideas, then other relatives, and leave ourselves with the left-overs. We make ourselves look like chumps! She laughed darkly; apparently my generation's agony is her gift this year.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:25 AM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Our first kid is due in Feb. We're the type of people who are looking for asexual names and don't want to gender-type our kid needlessly. Blah blah blah /backstory.

I like this. I need to practice my "You cannot have this." because of all the terrible reasons he listed.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:26 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Only people at BU and MIT cared about [Hahvahd grade inflation].

I see you didn't attend the University of Chicago.

…Said the people who didn't go to Tufts.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:27 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because, as he said, "You cannot have this."


... sorry, just practicing.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:27 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I choose to believe that the kid wants justice, and a black jacket.

I thought she meant one of these.
posted by Drexen at 8:30 AM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


The concept of the "Christmas list" is such a bizarre, foreign thing to me. It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out it was an actual, factual thing that other children had literally done all the while I was growing up alongside them. It seems strange to me that parents wouldn't know their children well enough to know what presents they would enjoy. And if you do the whole Santa Claus thing (another thing I didn't know other kids took literally until I was grown up), isn't it a bit inconsistent that the man who magically knows when you're asleep, awake, naughty, and nice, doesn't also know what sort of things you'd like to receive as gifts?

Of course, Greed and Envy were right up there with Pride as Things You Didn't Indulge In If You Knew What Was Good For You in our house. We got some truly wonderful Christmas presents, but it never would have occurred to us in a million years to ask for them in writing.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:34 AM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Books officially do not count as Christmas presents for people under 16.

They do if you come from a nerdy family like mine! I loved getting books and still do.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:34 AM on December 5, 2013 [22 favorites]


MetaFilter: What am I, Galactus?
posted by Foosnark at 8:34 AM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Books officially do not count as Christmas presents for people under 16.

Are you kidding me?! I loved getting books as a kid! I would get a big stack of books on Christmas (books were always at least 2/3 of my list) and have marathon reading sessions. I'd usually finish them all by the end of January. Then I would take the Christmas money and go to Border's for more books.

I think the worst I ever asked for at Christmas was a new computer because the new Pentiums came out and our 486 was so last year.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:34 AM on December 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


For Christmas I want_______________,
I need _________________,
I would wear __________________
and I would read _______________.

Four things appropriately categorized.


Hmmm?

Isn't it a bit early in the kid's life to be bureaucratizing the Santa myth? If my parents had pulled this on me, I can't help but think it would have shrunk my sense of the overall wonder of things.

I prefer their less premeditated means. Which involved getting woken one up Christmas eve by my dad, obviously a little drunk, screaming at my mom, "Get off the phone with your sister and help me get these goddamned presents up the stairs!"

I still got cool stuff that year.
posted by philip-random at 8:35 AM on December 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


In early November my five-year old sat down with a few ads (Target, Wal-Mart, et al.) from the newspaper and dictated a SEVEN-PAGE LIST to her older sister. We responded with cackling. The boys limited themselves to both sides of one sheet each, but each of theirs had an up-front cost of several thousand dollars.

Thinking ahead a couple years to my niece and nephew's gift-giving gives me The Fear. Both sets of grandparents are very, very indulgent, and to add insult to injury, my sister-in-law's family is rather well-off. And thus, this is what the tree looked like last year.

Mind you, my niece and nephew are still pretty young - they're 5 and 2 - and are both pretty down-to-earth, sweet kids. But I just know that the days when I can satisfy them with a new book and a simple toy are numbered, and then my broke ass is gonna be in trouble.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:36 AM on December 5, 2013


That Dad is soooooooooooooooooo from Boston.

Definitely not, but he and Deadspin get a lot of mileage out of the Yah Dude from Boston stereotype. I think he's from the Midwest.
posted by yerfatma at 8:38 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I especially enjoy how he follows that on point Monster High rant with OK, but the earbuds are cheap so I'm buying you some.

This is where I feel compelled to mention how squicked out American Girls makes me feel. It's not so much the one doll per year thing (try keeping up the squadron of Transformers that come out every year), but it's the AG stores, where one can bring their doll in for a shampoo and style or a manicure in a salon and be seated in a doll sized chair with doll sized dishes while chicken nuggets or grilled cheese sandwiches are served. A friend of mine who has three AG crazed daughters shares stories about their visits to AG stores and hiding the bone deep shudders of revulsion that pass through me in waves is increasingly difficult. I think it's wonderful when kids use their imagination to imbue their toys with life, but when there's an entire chain of stores commoditizing that, it marches right into the uncanny valley of eww.
posted by jamaro at 8:38 AM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Empress, was that tree at, like, a community center? Or a Toys For Tots drive or something?Holy cow!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:39 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thinking ahead a couple years to my niece and nephew's gift-giving gives me The Fear.

I have four child-aged cousins and one nephew that we're shopping for this year and it's fairly horrible. Not that they're spoiled rotten or anything, I just have no idea what the state-of-the-art is for children's things. Until he can look me in the eye and ask for something with his own words, the nephew is getting college money. I have no idea what to do for the rest of them. Or the adult family members, for that matter. Or my fiance! no i don't procrastinate on christmas gifts why do you ask
posted by backseatpilot at 8:39 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


jamaro, I am in my mid-30s now, but when we were kids, there were no American Girl stores. They had the books and the dolls, and that was it, and they were highly preferable to Barbie.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:40 AM on December 5, 2013


This is like Glock coming out with a line of spray bottles for veggie wash.

That was where I lost it in the comments.
posted by Foosnark at 8:41 AM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


The dolls and books are fine, it's the store services that freak me out.
posted by jamaro at 8:41 AM on December 5, 2013


This is where I feel compelled to mention how squicked out American Girls makes me feel.

I knew with such certainty that my parents would never, ever, ever drop $100 on a doll that I never even considered asking for an American Girl doll. It would have been like asking for my own convertible. But we got the catalogs, and somehow it was perfectly satisfying for me to just look at every item on every page of the catalog. That was enough! The same impulse is probably the reason I have 25 different online shopping carts filled with clothes I'll never, ever buy.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:42 AM on December 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


They do if you come from a nerdy family like mine! I loved getting books and still do.

One of my favorite Christmas presents of all time was one of those big sets of "the classics" edited for kids, when I was seven. I was buried in The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Tales of Poe, Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, etc., for months. I went on to read the full versions as soon as I could. I still get all warm and smiley just thinking about opening that package. I think I was done for the rest of the day.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:42 AM on December 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


...when there's an entire chain of stores commoditizing that, it marches right into the uncanny valley of eww.

Oh, jamaro, I dunno: there's whole theme parks devoted to Harry Potter and the Disney Gang, so why not some stores?

At the Mall of America, the theme park in the center is sponsored by Nickelodeon, so there's rides and toys and stores devoted to the Last Airbender and stuff. (Also, there's a store devoted to Peeps, swear to God.) And the Lego Store there is my personal favorite destination. *shrug* The AG dolls are all right, considering they come with some pretty good books (non-fiction as well as historical fiction) and such. I mean, have you ever see a "Call of Duty"-branded book about th Battle of Chosin Reservoir?
posted by wenestvedt at 8:44 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The concept of the "Christmas list" is such a bizarre, foreign thing to me. It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out it was an actual, factual thing that other children had literally done all the while I was growing up alongside them.

My girlfriend's 26-year-old sister still writes these and gives them to her mom as if she were seven.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:44 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


My sister and I never made Christmas lists - we were kind of shamed out of it by my mother - but I really remember desperately wanting an American Girl doll like my friends from the nice side of town and sort of dreamily flipping through the catalog (this was before the stores), imagining what I'd do with my doll. I'm not terribly surprised to see that there's still tremendous pressure on girls to have those dolls. They were basically my introduction to class divisions.
posted by troika at 8:44 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Malibu Stacy, where are you when we need you?
posted by flyingsquirrel at 8:44 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now, an American Girl doll of Galactus, that I would want.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:45 AM on December 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


At the Mall of America, the theme park in the center is sponsored by Nickelodeon

Wait, it's no longer Snoopy? Next thing you'll be telling me there aren't six different stores devoted to magnets. Can you still walk on home plate?
posted by troika at 8:45 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Until he can look me in the eye and ask for something with his own words, the nephew is getting college money.

I'm guessing that you're talking about a very, very young child here. Which may be an ideal time, because a) they are satisfied with comparatively inexpensive things, and b) whatever you give them stands a 50/50 chance of being cast aside on a whim anyway only to be rediscovered later all anew, so you can just tell yourself that if they don't like it right away they'll find it in a week and go nuts over it.

And after that, all it takes is some listening to the kid prattle and getting a clue somewhere. My nephew is two, and for some reason I caught him talking about dinosaurs a few times when I was there for Thanksgiving - so he's getting a book about baby dinosaurs acting up when their parents are trying to put them to bed. Even if it never becomes his favoritest book in the world, he's not gonna feel like I slighted him because he's only two.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:46 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Empress, was that tree at, like, a community center? Or a Toys For Tots drive or something?

That was the tree in my brother's living room.

To be fair, there are presents for 7 people there - my brother's immediate family, our parents, and me. But my brother and SIL got carried away getting things for the kids - as did my parents, as did their OTHER grandparents. (My contribution was by necessity a little more modest.) So...yeah.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:50 AM on December 5, 2013


Nice to hear several MeFites enjoying getting books for xmas as kids... if you've already indicated you actually like reading, then great - but xmas is mainly the time for plastic junk. I've seen an under-ten actually burst into tears right after unwrapping an encyclopaedia...
posted by colie at 8:50 AM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


>Books officially do not count as Christmas presents for people under 16.

>They do if you come from a nerdy family like mine! I loved getting books and still do.


I assumed this meant that books don't count against the Xmas present tally - which is how my family did it. (Which meant that I grew up with some idea of the cost of toys, but no clue that books are expensive until I had to start buying my own. I'm so grateful for this now.)
posted by zeptoweasel at 8:51 AM on December 5, 2013


Geez, I'm so excited about my new niece (due in January) that I'm contemplating getting her the entire Madeline series for this Christmas.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:51 AM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


My girlfriend's 26-year-old sister still writes these and gives them to her mom as if she were seven.

I'm 26. Every year, my parents DEMAND such a list. I'm actually less comfortable with the idea than they are, but they absolutely insist, so I go ahead and do it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:52 AM on December 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


I should say I'm going through some weird hormonal resurgence of my own childhood American Girl obsession (like I have spent several evenings recently brushing and restoring doll hair on my fake Molly doll that my mom bought me when she didn't want to spend $86 on a real one) and the books are still the bomb but yeah, the modern line is kinda weird. I mean, I'm torn about it. They're genuinely very high quality play dolls but the whole point of the company now is to buy many many high quality play dolls and somehow that makes me sad--how much can you really love a doll when you've got 8 of her sisters at home? The company is super different than it was back when they were sponsoring historical tea parties for girls and their Felicity dolls, but that's what happens when you get bought out by Mattel: commodification.

Also they like to sell dolls of color as accessories to white blonde dolls (Julie Albright, Ivy) and it's super frigging weird.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:52 AM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


On non-preview, an encyclopedia is a terrible gift for a little kid, though. I got a thesaurus when I was six and was pretty non-plussed.
posted by zeptoweasel at 8:52 AM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


My family has always and continues to do Christmas lists. We are spectacularly bad with surprises, so the lists are a kind of control.
posted by maryr at 8:52 AM on December 5, 2013


It's by noted Dad author, Deadspin's Drew Magary. I am from Boston and a fan of his, and I am tickled by the fact that he would burn MetaFilter to the ground if he found out we were suggesting he was a Masshole.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:52 AM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


My girlfriend's 26-year-old sister still writes these and gives them to her mom as if she were seven.

A semi-distant relative of mine who will remain nameless handed out Christmas wish lists until she was 34 (no one was asking for them). The highlight of one of Kimberly's lists was "A rear spoiler" for the car she was leasing. Gaaaaawd, I'm glad she's not related by blood.
posted by jamaro at 8:55 AM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, Beanie Babies? Are they somehow a thing again?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:58 AM on December 5, 2013


Both sets of grandparents are very, very indulgent, and to add insult to injury, my sister-in-law's family is rather well-off. And thus, this is what the tree looked like last year.

Empress, was that tree at, like, a community center? Or a Toys For Tots drive or something?

I'm both embarrassed and proud to say, this is what my family's tree looks like most years. The youngest of us is 26.

Now, there Are kind of a lot of us, so partly it's just what happens if 8 people have more than one present each. And, most of those boxes at my house are filled with fancy booze. But this year, this year....a thing that can turn into anything any time. oh yes.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:58 AM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm 26. Every year, my parents DEMAND such a list. I'm actually less comfortable with the idea than they are, but they absolutely insist, so I go ahead and do it.

My mother-in-law is big on Christmas lists, which I feel weird about, but this year I finally buckled and just provided a list of my tastes in clothes so that she could get my clothes I want, because I'm a boring adult and they're always appreciated. It's doubly weird because my mother-in-law is one of those people who loves giving presents and starts picking up little things for people in January, but for some reason in November she wants a list. It annoys me a bit, but it comes from a good place.

She also labels all of the presents with themed names of famous or fictional people based on interests of the recipient (I am a lawyer who likes to cook and goes to church so I've gotten lawyers, TV chefs, and Anglican Church figures; my wife likes mysteries so she got famous detectives one year). It's a bit charming and a bit infuriating when you're trying to sort them all out, but I think she knows that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:59 AM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


My family's actually gotten back into the list habit, because invariably there are uncles or cousins who want to do something but aren't in quite as regular contact with me so they invariably ask my mother what I want and she doesn't really know what to say either so I do a list more so that Mom can send it to Aunt Ida or whatever. Although really all I do is copy what's on my Amazon wishlist because books are actually cool with me.

Although this year, I actually gave my parents a don't list, because for the past few years they've insisted on buying random clothes that I end up not wearing or weird battery-operated hand-held gizmos that my father thinks look cool, and I end up taking a good deal of that to Goodwill and feel like a horrible daughter and so I finally just gently said "please don't".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 AM on December 5, 2013


Isn't it a bit early in the kid's life to be bureaucratizing the Santa myth? If my parents had pulled this on me, I can't help but think it would have shrunk my sense of the overall wonder of things.

As a parent, I'm okay with regulating my kids' expectations to something more reasonable.

But then, Hanukkah is celebrated in my house. So my children know darn well who got them gifts. Reinforced by the fact that they also have to make phone calls to say "Thank you" and also write thank you notes to their relatives.

That may not be as magical as getting a gift from Santa, I grant you. And they do still have the tooth fairy.
posted by zarq at 9:03 AM on December 5, 2013


I'm 26. Every year, my parents DEMAND such a list. I'm actually less comfortable with the idea than they are, but they absolutely insist, so I go ahead and do it.

I'm in my 30s. My mother asks for a list every year. Every year I tell her I don't want anything, stop wasting money she doesn't have on shit I don't want. Every year she buys stuff that winds up at Goodwill. Thankfully we have a baby due in March, so this year it's, "buy baby stuff."

I loathe gift culture. Kids get a pass until they're old enough not to blow $50 on candy in one go, though.

Yes, I am a grinch.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:05 AM on December 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


The bulk of my list this year was socks and books... so, stuff I'd get myself anyway (besides groceries).
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:10 AM on December 5, 2013


That drawing isn't a chicken head! It's the rist bange! She wants that kind of rist bange!
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:11 AM on December 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


My mother requests a wish list every year and then systematically ignores every item on it to get whatever she was already planning to get in the first place. Sometimes to the point of me thinking it's pure spite, actually. (She is well known for getting people the one thing they specifically do NOT want. Cheese for lactose intolerant people, enormous knick-knacks for the child who lives in a 200 sq ft studio apartment...)
posted by like_a_friend at 9:11 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think I'm with philip-random on how lists might not be so great in general but this,
zarq: "In response, someone suggested adding, "and I think others need__________""
is fucking genius.

Getting kids to suggest things to Santa that someone else might need sounds like an especially awesome way to defeat the less savory aspects of the holiday. Sure the less savvy kids may not get it and more savvy kids will quickly figure out how to game it, but they'll still be thinking about others whether they like it or not.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:12 AM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


stuff I'd get myself anyway (besides groceries).

Worst xmas present ever received: jar of jam. Not home-made, not even very fancy type.
posted by colie at 9:12 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


That drawing isn't a chicken head! It's the rist bange

Yeah, that's so obviously an elbow-length fingerless glove. Worst dad ever.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:13 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah ha! Just figured out what a canape is.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:15 AM on December 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


Ah ha! Just figured out what a canape is.

I want one!
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:17 AM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi: "Ah ha! Just figured out what a canape is."

I don't know, that looks like Fort Kickass to me
posted by Blasdelb at 9:18 AM on December 5, 2013


Protip: If you're growing up with just your mum, and you have a nice-guy dad that you only see every few weeks, get that list IN HIS FACE, sit back, and let guilt and sadness work its magic.
posted by colie at 9:19 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


His description of Justice was spot-on.

All my kid wants for Christmas is a Ferrari, a Samsung Galaxy, and more followers on Vine. I'm kind of proud of her for not making the one attainable item on that list another Apple product, but she's still not getting it.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:23 AM on December 5, 2013


Worst xmas present ever received: jar of jam. Not home-made, not even very fancy type.

My wife once received from a coworker a scarf and block of Cabot's cheddar cheese. Both were sold at the Whole Foods next door.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:26 AM on December 5, 2013


I'm 26. Every year, my parents DEMAND such a list. I'm actually less comfortable with the idea than they are, but they absolutely insist, so I go ahead and do it.

Mine do this and they also take me shopping for my own Christmas presents when I visit them around the holidays. "Let's go buy something and then you'll pretend it is a surprise."
posted by capricorn at 9:32 AM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I married into a List family, and I have partially solved that by keeping an Amazon Wish List open all year. Come Christmas List time, I copy down the URL into an email and send it. Viola!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:34 AM on December 5, 2013


I....think the Monster High dolls are cool, as someone who hated Barbies as a child.

I mean, look! A rockabilly Zombie! Who likes to bowl!
posted by Windigo at 9:39 AM on December 5, 2013


Neither my husband nor I did Christmas lists as children, so our kids didn't do them either. They also didn't do much nagging for presents once I explained to them that the children on the TV ads who were so excited to be playing with the toys, were actors and were paid to pretend to be excited.

But my younger son always wanted "a machine that could make you anything you want". At first he thought it could be made from a really awesome Lego set. Then he figured he'd invent one when he grew up, and planned to take a number of degrees in university so he could be an inventor (he was 6 at the time and thought he should take a history degree as well as an engineering degree so he would know what had already been invented).

He turns 18 next week, and just yesterday he said, "Mum, remember that machine I always wanted that could make anything? I just realized it's a 3-D printer!"
posted by angiep at 9:41 AM on December 5, 2013 [30 favorites]


Our mother very specifically asked us for Hannukah lists up into our 30s (and never stopped asking for Birthday lists). Which made some sense, as we were weird little kids and how else could she know which books we were interested in that year.

Which I guess is just me practicing for when I have to explain why my copy of Michael Spivak's Calculus on Manifolds has "Happy Hannukah, Love, Mom and Dad" written on the title page.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:55 AM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah ha! Just figured out what a canape is.

Awwww! How cute is this little girl?! I want to hang out with her and make some beaded jewelry. This was way funnier than I was expecting it to be.
posted by polly_dactyl at 9:57 AM on December 5, 2013


My mom is an absolute nut about Christmas - it is quite literally her favorite day of the year.

She used to buy so many presents that she'd bribe honor students of hers to come over and wrap gifts for everyone.

She got a hoot over the fact that one of these students looked at the pile of books that she was planning to give to us and said something along the lines of: "your kids like getting books for Christmas?". Remember - high honors English student - I don't know if my mom was more horrified or amused.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:58 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fuck. My daughter is 8 and handed me a very similar list. I wanted to ask her if she'd been smoking something in her room, like her shoes, but I just smiled and said I'd discuss her list with the family and Santa.
posted by PuppyCat at 9:59 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't do Christmas lists until I was in my 20s. Prior to that it was bookstore giftcards, clothes, big-ish things I wanted but couldn't afford for myself (a guitar, an MP3 player), and then cash in college. But now that I have a decent job and some disposable income, most things I would want for myself that are within the range of the price of a Christmas gift I tended to just get myself eventually. So now my mom asks for Christmas lists starting around around November and doesn't let up until I stop answering with "love and happiness" and send her a list of links instead. (Which I find uncomfortable, but I guess better than pretending to like the stuff they give me when I don't offer any guidance. Which I still do with dad.)

I'd be pretty happy if we do away with gifts altogether, because I genuinely don't want anything for Christmas or my Birthday, but then again I also really enjoy giving gifts to people I love so I understand the impulse.
posted by Phire at 10:01 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm 26. Every year, my parents DEMAND such a list. I'm actually less comfortable with the idea than they are, but they absolutely insist, so I go ahead and do it.

I get the same thing, and after several years of trying 'no big gifts, I'm fine' resulting in a Christmas Day with an armful of questionably useful stuff that sits in a closet until the end of time, I went for a different tack. "I'm thinking of getting my car detailed, some funds towards that would be nice."
"Isn't that what we got you for your birthday?"
"Well, that I ended up spending on getting my brakes replaced."

It's not laden with seasonal romanticism, but it does help get the bills paid.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:15 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I maintain an amazon wish list for my family and friends. Otherwise I get pestered to make a list.

It doesn't matter though, they look at the list and go: "I don't know what to get you!!" like, there's 30 or more items on there, pick something in your budget!
posted by royalsong at 10:17 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems strange to me that parents wouldn't know their children well enough to know what presents they would enjoy.

My parents knew, but the list to Santa was an exercise in writing a legible and correctly-spelled list, composing a legible letter, and writing out the envelope. Back when correspondence was mostly handwritten and spelling still mattered.

*sips her Boost, reminisces...*
posted by kimberussell at 10:23 AM on December 5, 2013


When I was a kid I wanted a little leather pouch like I'd seen at the Renaissance Festival, with a drawstring closure, from which I could magically retrieve whatever I wanted.

Specifically, I wanted to use this pouch to procure corduroy OP shorts to wear to school every day so I could become one of the popular kids.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 10:25 AM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


It seems strange to me that parents wouldn't know their children well enough to know what presents they would enjoy.

Hmmm. I wonder if it wasn't also a way to get the kid to think a little bit about prioritizing? Some kids do have an instantaneous kneejerk "omigod I want that" reaction to anything that looks cool, only to forget all about it a week later when they see something else. If parents reacted to every last "oh cool i want that" that came out, they'd buy out a toy store.

So maybe the list is a way of getting the kid to think about "okay, wait, all of these things are cool, but how much do I want each of them really?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:26 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


My (12 year old) son wants Pokemon DS games. Apparently that's a thing again.

(And sorry kiddo, no Soul Silver Pearl Moonglow game for you - THAT THING IS EIGHTY DOLLARS).
posted by Lucinda at 10:29 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would just like to point out that you can, in fact, buy a job lot of almost all* the Beanie babies for well under $100 on Ebay.

Would I spend $100 on a haul for 40 Beanie Babies for a seven-year-old? Only if I wanted the pleasure of blowing her little seven year old mind for all of 10 minutes.

*OK not really but still, 40 is a lot of Beanie Babies...
posted by DarlingBri at 10:29 AM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never made lists growing up, but as a parent I have to admit that the concept of a "letter to Santa" (not a list, it has to be a letter!) is very handy when the whining for something Just. Won't. Stop. "Put it in your letter, Sweetie, maybe Santa will get you it". It's always a last resort, but sometimes nothing except that will overcome the Whine.

My husband's family would never do anything so *blatant* as a list, but they always say they need to know, so lots of emails get sent around and the result is something like me sending him an email: "Hey hon, if anyone is asking you for ideas for me this year, here are some things I might like". And then a list.
posted by gaspode at 10:33 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


My 7yo has a rough one this year. Four items only. A computer (so he can install all those Minecraft mods I won't let him download. Evil mother.), a remote controlled helicopter, an eco-dome habitat, an iPad mini.

1. I explained Santa doesn't bring computers to little children. He countered by noting that I told him Santa probably wouldn't bring the DS he asked for last year, but then Santa DID.
2. You mean like the one that sliced off the top of some guy's head? No, I don't think so.
3. Sounds good until you look up the Amazon reviews, which read "Save your money folks" and "Please don't buy this product".
4. Will not be dropping $300+ on a fragile machine for the kid who dropped my iPad on the floor shattering the screen not so long ago.

So yeah, I'm thinking that this may be the year that he stops believing in Santa.
posted by Cuke at 10:34 AM on December 5, 2013


note: The whining of my 5 year old only started in the last six months when we let her start watching shows live, on channels that have advertising. It was like a little before and after crossover study on the effectiveness to advertising to kids. Just insane.
posted by gaspode at 10:35 AM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also, Beanie Babies? Are they somehow a thing again?

I have been informed by an 8 year old of my acquaintance that Beanie Boos are the current Thing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:35 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


2. You mean like the one that sliced off the top of some guy's head? No, I don't think so.

For what it's worth, you can get plenty of toy-sized RC copters that probably won't slice anybody's head off, too. They're sort of tough to fly, though, so it might be sort of frustrating for a 7-year-old.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:39 AM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


note: The whining of my 5 year old only started in the last six months when we let her start watching shows live, on channels that have advertising.
YEP!! Lessons learned from first daughter -- ALWAYS ff through commercials; never watch TV live. Also, exposure to Disney programming ends when she "graduates" to live action shows instead of cartoons -- even iCarly and GoodLuck Charlie or whatever led to WAY too much precocious smartassing. I'm not having it again.
posted by jfwlucy at 10:43 AM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


>I'm 26. Every year, my parents DEMAND such a list. I'm actually less comfortable with the idea than they are, but they absolutely insist, so I go ahead and do it.

>I get the same thing, and after several years of trying 'no big gifts, I'm fine' resulting in a Christmas Day with an armful of questionably useful stuff that sits in a closet until the end of time


Me too, on all counts. I have discovered that if I don't ask for things, the same amount of money-my-mom-doesn't-have gets spent, just on things I don't want and can't use. Now I put off any necessary purchases around my birthday and Christmas, so at least I can tell her that I want, say, new wiper blades and a replacement for my busted water filter.

On my dad's end, he's basically single-handedly funded my research throughout graduate school, since the school and my lab certainly aren't gonna pay for it. (Don't join a broke lab at a broke school, folks.) So I have received for Christmas in the past: 50 meter measuring tape, Rite-in-the-Rain field notebooks, a clinometer, a densiometer, flagging tape...
posted by pemberkins at 10:44 AM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone wanting to win the heart of a niece this year should get them a Rainbow Loom and some really cool sets of rubberbands and a link to this website.
posted by jfwlucy at 10:45 AM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Growing up in the late 1930s my dad said he and his 4 siblings didn't receive Xmas gifts nor bday gifts because they were too poor. IF by chance they got something it was a penny to split amongst them. I remind our son that he's lucky to get anything and to buy with his piggy bank money one toy for a child in need and put it in the bin.

I know kids are kids but it does bug me when I see these kids have zero concept of money or what others don't have.
posted by stormpooper at 10:56 AM on December 5, 2013


You guys are in your mid-late twenties and you're still getting Christmas presents? Geez. In my family, only children under 18 get presents. If you're over 18 you get a Secret Santa. Or if you're married/pregnant. My little cousin Timothy was upset that he missed out on two years of presents because he knocked up his girlfriend.
posted by domo at 11:03 AM on December 5, 2013


My 19th Christmas was hard, because I was broke and in college and suddenly I had to get presents for all of the children in my family. Everybody got cookies. I got a sweater from my secret Santa.
posted by domo at 11:04 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Presents happen until you die. That is the law.
posted by elizardbits at 11:06 AM on December 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


I just about died trying to keep from laughing out loud in the office at this:

""A little thing that can turn into anything at anytime." The fuck is this? What am I, Galactus? Do you understand the catastrophic universal implications of possessing a shape-shifting, time-traveling device? Even Rob Gronkowski knows that isn't to be toyed with. You could turn it into a separate moon any time you like and then the Earth would be fucking DESTROYED by the additional gravitation. You cannot be trusted with this at age 7. If such a thing existed and were affordable, I wouldn't have children. I would have a SPACE BROTHEL. There's a reason that we have the laws of physics in place. And you expect this thing to be portable as well? You cannot have this."

I'm very curious about what his daughter was actually trying to ask for, or if she really does want a technologically advanced device with unimaginable cosmic powers. I mean, I guess you might as well ask Santa if so, but I don't think he hands out god-like powers for Christmas.
posted by yasaman at 11:09 AM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mentioned my in-laws above but I thought I'd clarify one thing: it is apparently a faux pas of beyond belief to not hand in a honestly-compiled Christmas list. Last year I tried to just throw in a few items on my wife's and her aunt was like NEXT YEAR HE MAKES HIS OWN.

A few morning ago I was awoken with a start because we forgot to send our lists!

Also, I was told that the consequences (outside of upset well-meaning relatives) was that you end up with socks and underwear. I replied that I would really, genuinely appreciate socks and underwear as a gift if they are the kind I like but, nope, if I want them they better be on the list.

None of this is meant as a complaint in the list. My own family's Christmas New Year's gift-giving traditions involved people exchanging things they neither wanted for nor asked, people being upset with each other because the other person spent money on useless, useless crap (which it objectively was) and me getting cash because no one had any idea what I liked or wanted.
posted by griphus at 11:11 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


But I just know that the days when I can satisfy them with a new book and a simple toy are numbered, and then my broke ass is gonna be in trouble.

Empress: Dolls are for little people and are loved till outgrown. Books are forever--and for every year--especially if you put some thought into what you're getting, and then inscribe it to your favorite kidlet as a loving parent/grand, aunt/uncle. Even kids that don't read much like anime. I fought those for a while, thinking they weren't real books, until the ADHD kid taught me that any kind of reading is good and leads to reading 'real' books.

The toys I got as a kid--I don't remember them. But the books I got and saved, my kids read, and now my grandkids are reading them. The children's books my kids got as kids, I saved for my grandkids, and they loved the stories just as much as hearing the about the Christmas mom got this book and whether or not it was a favorite.

I won't buy plastic crap with a million pieces that get jammed into the toy box and are never looked at again after January. Eventually they get lost or thrown away. Clothes get outgrown. Except for the big box of hats you get at the thrift store. Or maybe a way cool costume to roar around in. Under tens think it's cool to get a costume for Christmas, because hey, it's not Halloween! And we can dress up. And we can pretend.

Bikes, wagons, jump ropes, balls, games, art supplies, simple musical instruments, blocks or Legos, a homemade dollhouse, a flashlight, a magnifying glass, a microscope, a prism, binoculars.

You know what makes all these things special? The fact that you take the time with the kid--pull the wagon, go for bike rides, toss the ball, play a game, draw a picture, go for a hike and take binoculars, look at the stars, read together, make clothespin dolls for the doll house, do puppet shows. THAT'S what the real gift is: your time.

It's harder if you're not living close by, but artwork can be mailed back and forth, games can be played, letters can be written.

Check this out. Give the materials. Make things together. Cheap.

We gave the kids a tire, a rope and a huge cardboard fridge box one year. Did it for the grandkids, too. They were appalled. Then we made the tree swing that afternoon, had them draw the windows and the door for the fort. Took the tree swing down when they were about 9 years old, because it got ignored. Now the 12 year old wants it back--so she can sit and read under the tree in the summer! The fort eventually got left in the rain in the fall and turned to mush--but it was used inside all winter, then went outdoors for camping during the summer.

There won't be much for Christmas this year for any of us, thanks to the shitty economy. But the one thing I spent money on was making the costumes and outfitting the horses with decorations from the dollar store to do the Boise Christmas parade last week, as well as the local night light parade coming up. Yeah, it's gonna be pretty damn cold this weekend. We'll bundle up and take hot chocolate, eat hot soup when we get home after we take care of the critters. Do you think the memories of the Bratz dolls or the Wii games will compare to the memory of the Christmas parades? (Especially the one this year where the mule dragged grandma off her feet when the high school band did the final drum and cymbal flourish!)

Let the kids write Santa. Mail the lists if you're into it. Then ignore.

Oh--don't get electronics, videos, or anything with batteries (except the flashlights.) Everybody else will get those.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:30 AM on December 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ugh, my daughter wants that Saige American Girl doll just like the kid in the article. We told her this weekend that she wouldn't get it because it costs too much. She cried. I know we are behaving responsibly, but I still felt horrible.
posted by Area Man at 11:38 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Check this out. Give the materials. Make things together. Cheap.

See, I agree with you, but I'm competing against Oma and Opa (Opa who used to be a Wall Street guy) who are all still in the "yay they're such cute kids let's indulge them" stage and I'm sure that there will be a time when my carefully-chosen books or whatever are going to be cast aside because they've been seduced by "whoooooaaaaa, a lazer scooter!"

...Eh, I'm not seriously grumbling, actually. My brother and SIL are doing a good job about keeping them from getting overly greedy and materialistic; I'm just competing with my SIL's parents and my own parents, who are similarly indulgent because these are their only grandkids.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:39 AM on December 5, 2013


I like that the kid carefully specified that she wanted a pet puppy. Understandable after the row that last year's request for an eatin' puppy caused.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:40 AM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


My family still does lists, but of course they are all useless. My brother just points to his amazon list, but he never actually cleans that out so it's 14 pages going back 8 years of mostly CDs that he has already bought in the interim. My parents' lists are short and consist of things someone else is already giving them and things that are impractical for me to give them. The other relatives just say iTunes gift cards but that's what I got them last year so I know they already have that.
posted by ckape at 11:41 AM on December 5, 2013


My family usually does lists. My sister and I push for them because otherwise we would have no idea what to give our dad. He rarely expresses a desire for anything and buys tons of books for himself. When I have to guess what he would like, I usually get a book and then find out on Christmas Day that he already owns a copy and has read it.
posted by Area Man at 11:51 AM on December 5, 2013


I started doing lists because my family's record of gift-giving was terrible.

One year I got four hubcaps. Not for my car. They wouldn't fit on my car. They weren't even for the same make of car. But I sure as hell had some hubcaps for it.

One year I got a 13 inch black and white TV. My sister, who was 4, got a $2000 high end computer system. And flipping through the Best Buy ads, I saw that the TV was a throw-in with the computer system.

One year I got a folding chair. Like the kind you would hit Hulk Hogan with were you a wrestler. I am not a wrestler.

One year I got pink, scented girly candles. I am not a girl and I'm allergic to scents.

Naturally they can't understand why I still hate Christmas and people still try to act like I'm a monster for not being grateful I got something at all. (I'd rather get nothing then get something terrible and have to pretend to be grateful, thanks).
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:52 AM on December 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


"So yeah, I'm thinking that this may be the year that he stops believing in Santa."

"Well, I gave Santa your list, but I guess he just didn't think you were good enough this year to get that stuff. He brought you some other things he thought you would like, and also a Save the Children DVD so that you'd appreciate your dollar-store action men even more."
posted by klangklangston at 12:01 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


But my younger son always wanted "a machine that could make you anything you want".

Growing up, I had a machine like that. It was a combination of my very crafty mother and grandmother. For any interest I had I would receive a stuffed animal or handmade toy that matched it in whatever color I liked at the time. My mother made a toddler-sized stuffed doll exactly to my specifications. When I liked Care Bears or My Little Pony I would get garbage bags full of custom sewn ones. When was obsessed with dinosaurs in elementary school I received multicolored specimens made out of cotton sheeting and a hand-painted bed spread. I had anything I wanted just as long as there was a pattern for it, or I helped to build a prototype.

I was really excited to do the same thing with my daughter. I would show my love by making awesome things, just like my mother and grandmother! When she was tiny I dressed her in dresses made with custom fabric, and made soft books with animals she likes. As she got older, I would make things that matched her interests, such as a Halloween costume of her favorite animal, the Purple Kitty.

Eventually, my daughter grew into a critic. She's too young to give me specifications, but not too young to reject the things I make for her with a flat "I don't like it." She even threw the dress I made for her first day of preschool on the ground and jumped up and down on it to show her displeasure.

I try not to take the criticism from my toddler muse too personally, but sometimes I am a little broken-hearted in private.

Still, I am undeterred in making her stuff for this Christmas, though I'm trying to take more of her taste into account. She sleeps under a purple towel embroidered with purple cats from her grammy and has approved the initial drafts of a purple bunny costume. I designed a pink and purple airplane fabric that I'm sure she will like.

Still, she rejected the (non-purple) owl hoodie I'm working on, which I thought was turning out pretty well. It will go to one of her cousins, though I am a little disappointed.

As she gets older we'll be working on showing gratitude and appropriate ways to give feedback. I doubt the maker cycle will end with me, though. She's currently obsessed with beading and occasionally surprises me with bracelets and necklaces. I don't really wear jewelry, but I wear hers until she asks for it back so she can break it down and make something else.
posted by Alison at 12:04 PM on December 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


I have an enormous Amazon wishlist of all sorts of things that I'd like but can't bring myself to buy because of the expense, or they're for a hobby that I'm not actively pursuing at the moment, or we already have five shelves of cookbooks so I can't justify spending my own money on yet another cookbook.

I point my mom at this every year when she asks what I want for Christmas and my birthday. What does she get me? Nothing from it whatsoever, because "I want to give you a surprise." *sigh*
posted by telophase at 12:05 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Alison, the owl hoodie is pretty awesome!

Kids will always find your one weak spot and then shank you right there.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:23 PM on December 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


Alison I would totally wear that owl hoodie I don't care if I can't fit in it. (Seriously, your stuff is adorable and I'm sure she will soon appreciate how awesome you are.)
posted by Phire at 12:32 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


That owl hoodie is super awesome and I am judging your toddler.
posted by elizardbits at 12:34 PM on December 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


Kids will always find your one weak spot and then shank you right there.

*snerk* My niece, sweetheart though she is, actually dissed my fashion sense without even knowing it on Thanksgiving - she's a serious girly-girl, like BEYOND what girls that age usually do, all princess dresses and sparkles and glitter and skirts and jewelry. Her favorite toy is a rabbit named "Jimmy Choo" and she remembers playing with jewelry at a house party my SIL brought her to when she was only 18 months old.

At some point before Thanksgiving dinner, she came into the room where my Dad and I were hanging out, after having changed into a little-girl party dress, all sequins and ruffles, with a big red bow. After accepting our compliments, she looked me up and down - I was wearing jeans, nice boots, a sweater, and a jacket. And then she asked me, "are you wearing that?"

I said something diplomatic about how some people like to get all dressed up, but some people like to also be a little comfy too, and that's okay - and then as soon as I could I scurried off to other adults so I could crack up and tell them because come on, that's hysterical.

And that's why my niece is getting the means to make her own tiaras because girlfriend needs them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:35 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the owl hoodie!
posted by Area Man at 12:38 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I come from a list-making family: when we were little, that actually involved going through the Sears catalog. When I was a teenager, my grandmother was genuinely tickled by the names of the bands I loved. (B-52s, her personal fave.) Now it's all Amazon lists...and since we're also book-giving people, Goodreads wish lists. My kid sis just reminded me to go update my book wish list.

Mr. epersonae comes from gift card/cash people, AND Mom can sometimes go awry if you're not reeeeally specific, so he's always sort of crabby about it. ("Can we just ask for a gift card from Fred Meyer?" "No, Mom wants to wrap something.") This year he just threw up his hands and said, "Ok, fine. Hobbit-themed Lego. That's all I want for Christmas."

Then again, my other sister's guy is THE MOST STOIC MAN ON EARTH, so I'm sort of grateful for her making him set up an Amazon Wish List, because I can get him a little something he'll actually like. (Their 5-month-old, OTOH, is mostly getting handmade socks, and probably a baby elf beanie, because baby.)

I finally just looked at the BIL's list. He's super-nerdy! Which is seriously cool! Also: "Go the F*** to Sleep"?!
posted by epersonae at 12:53 PM on December 5, 2013


-It seems strange to me that parents wouldn't know their children well enough to know what presents they would enjoy.

--Hmmm. I wonder if it wasn't also a way to get the kid to think a little bit about prioritizing? Some kids do have an instantaneous kneejerk "omigod I want that" reaction to anything that looks cool, only to forget all about it a week later when they see something else. If parents reacted to every last "oh cool i want that" that came out, they'd buy out a toy store.


I guess I can see that, if the particular family's dynamic is such that those are the only two alternatives.

In our house, our parents decided what was going to be purchased. It never would have occurred to us to write down what we wanted someone else to buy for us because we knew that asking someone to buy something for us in any manner at all wouldn't be tolerated. Mom knew what sort of things we liked from observing us and talking to us, and she made her decisions based on that.

She saw that I liked to borrow a certain doll of my sister's, so she got me one of my own. My sister got excited watching people look through microscopes on TV, so she got her a kids' microscope. If we enjoyed playing a game at someone else's house, we might get our own set. We always liked what she chose.

Not that we were never allowed to make decisions for ourselves - when we went to restaurants, they'd tell us how much we were allowed to spend, and we'd order what we wanted. For an occasional *surprise* treat unrelated to a holiday or special occasion, we'd be given a little spending money in the store. But gifts were considered 100% unasked-for.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:01 PM on December 5, 2013


Okay then.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:03 PM on December 5, 2013


Count me as another list-keeper (despite being 29) and books-as-gifts lover. I read a lot, so I maintain an Amazon wish list so my parents can buy me books without fear of duplication. However, I keep the list sparse, because a gift is always better as a surprise, so I leave room for creativity and avoid the feeling that I'm ordering others to shop for me.

(As a six year-old car lover, I received a fully functional traffic light Christmas morning. "Santa hit it with his sleigh." Surprises always win.)

However, the real fun lies on my private Amazon list titled "Stuff I Maybe Want". That's where I stash every book that looks decent and fits my passing fancy of the moment. I may not want to own these, but I might find myself stuck in the library with a hankering for urban studies (or history of science, or inner-city education, or food history, or soil science, or container gardening, or North Korea, or charcuterie…)
posted by Turkey Glue at 1:06 PM on December 5, 2013


I asked my 5 year old daughter what she wanted for Christmas.

THE WORLD

What, you mean like a globe sweetheart?

NO, THE WORLD. ALL OF IT

...

...

Where are you going to put it?

IT CAN GO ON THE RUG IN THE LIVING ROOM
posted by Sebmojo at 1:06 PM on December 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


From his weekly "NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo" (don't ask) today:

I posted my kid's Christmas wish list yesterday and showed it to my wife, and she reminded me that there was a third page to the list that we now can't find. Not only did that third page of the list include a "blue Toyota" (not a kiddie race car, but a full-sized adult Toyota), but my wife said it also included "super gymnastics powers." So basically my kid wants to roll up on people and then Gymkata the fuck out of them.

posted by Rock Steady at 1:12 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually, if you have the money, an American Girl doll is a pretty good buy. I have been buying them for my daughter for years - first American Girl baby, then toddler, then graduating to the "Actual Doll". She loved them, and the best part is that they withstood baby and toddler actual-child abuse. You could clean their faces and arms, because they were made of washable material, and if the kids cut off the hair, you could take it to the AG Store, and they would replace it for some ridiculously low sum. Forever. You did not have to bring proof of purchase, just the doll.

That said, the accessories are ridiculously priced, and I'm not saying I bought all or even most of them. But the doll itself is a solid buy because it will last for years.
posted by corb at 1:24 PM on December 5, 2013


Beartato has this all figured out.
posted by ckape at 1:26 PM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


American Girl dolls are great to sew for, too. There are a ton of patterns out there, and they're a lot less fiddly than Barbie because of the scale. So, if you're a sewer you can invest in the doll for Christmas and then make clothes for the minor holidays.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:49 PM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


1:3 scale jeggings for Michaelmas!
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:01 PM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't doubt the quality of the dolls, but $110 is just a lot to spend on a single toy.
posted by Area Man at 2:02 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Again, to be clear, it's not the AG dolls, it's not the books, it's the services offered by the AG stores which charge a pretty penny to bolster the notion that the doll is alive that crosses the creepy barrier for me. For example, one can take their doll in to an AG store to get its ears pierced (but not tattooed, which might somehow redeem this whole thing for me*) by apron-clad store employees who are referred to as "trained stylists" while the doll sits in a tiny salon chair under a gown.

Someone upthread mentioned the Lego store, that's a different thing entirely, there's nothing inherently creepy about buying X in an X Brand store. To try to illustrate what is getting to me, imagine Lego offered a service to bulk-wash bricks: you take a bucket of bricks into the store, they get dumped into a hopper, a few minutes later you have sparkling clean and dried bricks. Not creepy. Now imagine the Lego store offered a service where you could bring in a Lego mini-fig and pay to have someone in scrubs referred to as Doctor carefully replace the arms in a mini surgical theater†, bandage it up, and hand it back to the kid along with a pamphlet on after surgery care, to the tune of $14 (which is what AG charges to pierce a doll's ears and yeah, there's a 'Doll Earrings Tips sheet for home care'). That's a crapload of money for something that the kid could be doing at home, you know, actually playing with the toy herself and *that's* what bugs me about AG.

*I did this to all of my dolls with ball point pens until my parents got the hint and started to buy robots for me instead.
†actually, that kinda sounds cool but not for $14. Maybe it's just dolls that creep me out.

posted by jamaro at 2:18 PM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've probably spent more than that on the Waldorf-y doll I bought/made for my daughter for Christmas this year (I bought the filled doll, am doing the face, hair and clothes). It's at least 15% a present for me, because I like dolls to make things for. Plus she came up on me all ninja-like while I was looking at them on etsy and wanted me to let her look at the pictures. Then she wanted to know: "Who is going to love those dolls?" It takes a harder heart than mine to NOT buy a doll for a girl like that.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 2:56 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


You guys are in your mid-late twenties and you're still getting Christmas presents?

My entire family consists of my parents and me. That limits the options for family-wide Secret Santa, a bit. Also, nothing short of the apocalypse will come between my mother and online shopping run rampant.
posted by pemberkins at 3:03 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now imagine the Lego store offered a service where you could bring in a Lego mini-fig and pay to have someone in scrubs referred to as Doctor carefully replace the arms in a mini surgical theater†, bandage it up, and hand it back to the kid along with a pamphlet on after surgery care, to the tune of $14 (which is what AG charges to pierce a doll's ears and yeah, there's a 'Doll Earrings Tips sheet for home care'). That's a crapload of money for something that the kid could be doing at home, you know, actually playing with the toy herself and *that's* what bugs me about AG.

Eh, that's actually pretty much precisely what Xavier Roberts hired actors to do at the Babyland General Hospital. It's brilliant marketing. As i was just rambling in a MeMail to Area Man (because dollies!) what AG does really well is creating character narratives, which can be a significant part of how children, especially some little girls, play--making kids feel like these dolls are real and real people, with interests, just like you. So it's not just your doll, but your friend, Saige or Kit or whoever. Doing all of that with Lego doesn't make much sense (though Lego is doing similar narrative building with the friends line), but doing it with a high quality play doll does. You let her go through the same coming of age rituals (like pierced ears) that you do, you treat her as real, you create a bond between the girl and the doll, and, more, get the girl excited about buying doll related products.

I can see the criticisms, that it's kind of manufactured imaginative play, but it's also such ridiculously good marketing and plays right into the psychology of children, with transition objects and role playing and all of that. But then, I'm getting ready to send my 20-year-old Kirsten into their doll hospital to have a minor defect repaired and I'm a bit excited to get her back in tiny hospital gown.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:10 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've come across the variant "you can't have everything! Where would you put it?"

I might try that out on my nephews who are stlll young enough to think the recursive knock knock joke is funny.

"Knock knock!"

"who's there?"

"knock knock!"

Repeat ad inf.
posted by bad grammar at 4:30 PM on December 5, 2013


Worst xmas present ever received: jar of jam. Not home-made, not even very fancy type.

Nothing tops the shoehorn. Nothing.

Yep, one year my Nana gave me a shoehorn. I was 10. I believe I had requested ANYTHING THAT WASN'T A SHOEHORN.
posted by sonika at 7:27 PM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


I got a shoehorn one year. I was 21 and it was from my college roommate because she couldn't stand what I was doing to the back of my shoes. Love that thing, still have it.
posted by like_neon at 12:36 AM on December 6, 2013


Nothing tops the shoehorn. Nothing.

Ok so in fairness, this was not a Christmas present but a wedding present, but

- three wire coat hangers wrapped with yarn
- a Reader's Digest CD of some kind of music with the 'Here's your free gift from Reader's Digest!' card still attached, with those words struck through and replaced with 'Congratulations!'

Doesn't top the shoe horn, no, but it's its spiritual cousin.
posted by you must supply a verb at 1:50 AM on December 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nothing tops the shoehorn. Nothing.

Well, if we're playing Bad Presents, I'll throw in the year Paternal Grandma gave the sister and me word puzzle books, with one or two puzzles obviously done and erased, while all her other grandkids got homemade afghans. Most years, she'd get us a package of monogrammed pencils in contrast to the others' elaborate homemade gifts, but the erased puzzle books stood out a bit more in memory.

It's the only time I ever remember my father standing up to anyone on our behalf (he offered her money to buy us better presents, hehe), so I really do count it in the "warm and fuzzy Christmas memories" column. The next year, we got the afghans, even though ours were only lap-sized and obviously made of odds and ends of scrap yarn.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:18 AM on December 6, 2013


I would be kind of into monogrammed pencils at this point in my life.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:04 AM on December 6, 2013


It's not Christmas, but my mom sent me a slotted spoon for my birthday a few years ago. It's not that it was a slotted spoon, but that it was just the spoon in a padded envelope with no return address or anything by which I could identify the sender. A mystery spoon.
posted by troika at 7:04 AM on December 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would be kind of into monogrammed pencils at this point in my life.

Me, too, actually. We always had a bit of a laugh over them, but occasionally still buy them for ourselves and each other. It's great at work to know whose desks our pencils have wandered off to.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:21 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The worst present I encountered was a friend of mine at university whose father seemed to have some issues. She worked for him for the weeks prior to Christmas felling and selling Christmas trees from one of his plantations in the bitter cold from dawn until it got dark. When Christmas came she was given a box of tinned food which was supposed to be to the value of her earnings. The box wasn't very big. You could hold it with one arm. That was all she got for Christmas that year.

We do lists in our family, very useful for geographically disparate families. It helps people to give presents rather than gifts. Where
Present = something the person wants
Gift = something bought as a gift, not something that is necessarily wanted
See Dave Gorman's Modern Life is Goodish for more details
posted by asok at 7:26 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The contents of my roommate's Christmas stocking last year: (Her mother does not know her very well.)

- a half-used Advair inhaler (she is not asthmatic)
- half-full bottles of echinacea, cranberry supplement, and guaifenisin
- a packet of bearnaise sauce powder
- a pen branded with a local business
- a key fob from a Pain Anonymous hotline
- cupcake liners in a ziplock bag
- a bag of wild rice
- a small whisk
- a CD called "Believe" by a group called "Celtic Woman"

When the roommate pulled out the CD, her mother said with concern, "You don't already have that one, do you?"
posted by lauranesson at 9:08 AM on December 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


My family has you all beat. One year, my grandmother gave my sister a pen. A PLASTIC BIC PEN.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:44 AM on December 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


right, it's time for the four Yorkshiremen
posted by philip-random at 10:54 AM on December 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


My mother sent me a Christmas list last night that included items for her and my dad and for the both of them. It had some stuff for their new boat, which is fine, and then clothes for each of them (two items for each of them all very specific). Somehow every single one of the clothing items was sold out. I'm hoping they're happy with the boat stuff.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:57 AM on December 6, 2013


I am starting to suspect that some of you are related to the Dursleys.
posted by elizardbits at 11:13 AM on December 6, 2013 [6 favorites]




It's not that my family is hard-hearted, it's just that there are upwards of 30 children* and no one is particularly well off. So the Secret Santa presents tend to suck, because it's really all about the children.

*I swear we're not religious or anything, just apparently really fertile.
posted by domo at 11:36 AM on December 6, 2013


We didn't do lists when I was a kid, (gifts were about the giver's love) but I always secretly coveted those pound size Hershey bars. I never told anyone, but was always secretly disappointed that nobody knew that it was the perfect gift.

I forgot that desire once I got older and never told anyone. Magically one year my hubby gave me a huge candy bar and it's one of my favorite things about him, that he knew me so well.

(But boy, howdy, those large candy bars are hard to eat.... I'm cured now.)
posted by mightshould at 11:37 AM on December 6, 2013


Deadspin just published more awesome lists

#4 Rainbow sharties? o_0
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:53 AM on December 6, 2013


That word is Sharpies.

My favorite is the kid who wanted a thousand Cheez Doodles.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:17 PM on December 6, 2013


In my own family, Amazon wish lists are quite popular for my brother and I, but my parents don't use them. I find that really frustrating, since finding things that my parents don't have but want can be difficult. Both my brother and I use our wishlists as a wishlist more than as a shopping list. mine's everything I want but haven't gotten around to buying for whatever reason.

My S.O.'s family is not as great about the wishlists and he gets stuff he doesn't want or need. It's less than ideal.
posted by stoneegg21 at 12:34 PM on December 6, 2013


When I was 14 or so, my mom gave me for my birthday a box full of bandanas and bulk disposable chopsticks.

I don't know, either.
posted by pemberkins at 12:35 PM on December 6, 2013


That word is Sharpies.

I suppose that is better than glitter-infused poo.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:04 PM on December 6, 2013


My dog once gifted me with glitter-infused poo, he had eaten a (thankfully) water-soluble glitter glue pen that was forgotten on the coffee table.

The glitter, it does nothing.
posted by jamaro at 1:59 PM on December 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ooh, I have a good bad gift. It was from my in-laws, who weren't too fond of me at the time. They gave me a pair of knee-high, brown, scratchy, scratchy wool socks that were a full two inches longer than my feet.

It was remarkable to me how well that gift passive aggressively communicated "fuck you, we don't want you in our family".
posted by medusa at 7:54 PM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugly sweaters.
This was sometime in the 1980s, so you need to wrap your head around that baseline. I was in high school. I already had a machine-knit jacquard sweater with red flowers on it.
The gift sweater (a gift from a relative in California whom my family didn't see very often) was black, that heavy ramie/cotton mix that was popular then, with geometrical Miami Vice-type shapes on it in the thirteen basic colors of early computer graphics, knit or embroidered in relief.
I have no idea what happened to it, if we were able to exchange it or not. I do remember a lecture from my mother on ingratitude.
posted by bad grammar at 8:03 PM on December 6, 2013


Oh, I forgot the time my grandmother got me a Klansman.

Okay, it wasn't a Klansman. It was a figure from Spain from the Easter ceremonies, which you can see in the top picture here.

However, she sent it to the house without any kind of note or explanation and so when I opened a present to find a 6 inch high figurine in robes and hood with a cross badge on him I naturally made some assumptions. I grew up in the Very Deep South. My grandfather had a collection of racist banks when I was a kid like this one (TW: Racist!) and nobody thought it was weird for years. The town I grew up in, you could still see where they'd scraped "WHITES ONLY" off various buildings. So I naturally made some assumptions and he disappeared before we even finished unwrapping stuff.

It was only some months later when she visited and I blurted "WHY THE HELL DID YOU GET ME A KLANSMAN" that she explained the Spain and Easter thing, though when I asked her what I was supposed to think when I unwrapped a dude in robes and a hood, the penny did drop, at least.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:07 PM on December 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh oh oh!

One year we traveled to California to spend Christmas with my aunt and uncle and cousins. It was too difficult to bring our own presents along, so we opened them at home and only brought along the gifts for the relatives. So Christmas morning I had to sit and watch my cousin open gift after gift after gift (they were very well off). It blew my mind the amount of gifts he recieved.

I was given one gift from my aunt and uncle. A little plastic bag with 'you'll be a woman soon!' items in it. Tampons. A razor. Clearasil.

I was 12 and not very happy.
posted by Windigo at 11:41 AM on December 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's... a lot of crutches.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:52 AM on December 20, 2013


My dog once gifted me with glitter-infused poo

I knew a girl whose cat ate a short length of tinsel from the christmas tree. Next day the red sparkly tip of it came out of the cat's bumhole; cat had a sad confused face, then the whole family gathered round in amazement as an adult slowly pulled out the rest.
posted by colie at 11:11 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


« Older #2, pink eraser   |   How To Crush Leaves Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments