I have to admit I stole the topic title from MSN Money, however, let me put a Big Cajun Man slant on this, and see what Gifts you really shouldn’t get your kids this Christmas (or any other time for that matter).
Any Gift Over $250 In Cost
Anything with a price tag over $250 as a gift for any kid under 18 is simply a bribe folks, pure and simple. Unless the gift is a donation to an RESP, you can use that money for something better.
A Cell Phone
If you buy your kid a cell phone, you are creating yet another debt hole in your budget, since your kids can’t afford a cell phone, can they? If you must buy them one, make sure it is NSA approved , has tracking capabilities and an ability to broadcast messages loudly over them like: COME HOME NOW! and GET OFF MY DAUGHTER!
If your child is over 8 years of age, they know how they want to dress so that they don’t get beat up physically or socially at school, leave it alone parents, they don’t need another Brady Bunch Checked Shirt!
A corollary of the previous rule, I have heard of parents buying their daughters lingerie as gifts, are you people insane? Why not just hand them a lit stick of dynamite? Better still buy them a pack of Condoms with the Lingerie, at least that might be useful?
This is a sexist gift warning too, because if you have Sons, you must buy them underwear all the time, or they simply will keep wearing the same ones forever! People who buy their daughters lingerie, need to remember what it was like when they were their kids’ age, and then put the lingerie back on the rack!
Yes, this is really just a corollary of the first rule, but anyone who buys their kid a car as a Christmas present, this is a Huge Bribe. If you feel you must buy something vehicular for your children, buy them either Snow Tires or a Real Muffler (that muffles sound, not make the car sound louder), I am tired of hearing your kid’s car scream down my street.
Do I really need to explain this one? Unless your child is in the Military, RCMP or the Provincial Police, no firearms.
A Credit Card
This is the same as a Firearm, and if you are the one that receives the bill, it’s more like a Financial Neutron Bomb. A Credit Card given to a 16 year old is not teaching them about money, it is teaching them how to spend, there is a difference. Teach your kids how to live on cash and the money they have, if you want to give them a Credit Card, shred your credit cards and make them into a festive Christmas Wreath.
A Carton of Cigarettes or Case of Beer
If your child is younger than 18 years old and you buy either of these, your parenting license is revoked. The argument, I’d rather they drank at home, than at some stranger’s house is about as good as, I’d rather be blown up by a Russian H-Bomb instead of a North Korean H-Bomb, at least I knew where it came from.
Any Video Game with Theft or Kill in the Name
Again, do we really need to discuss this one?
Something You Always Wanted
My wife and I made this mistake a few times, our kids don’t want what we wanted when we were younger (in terms of gifts at least) and trying to relive your childhood by buying your kid a table hockey set, or a complete Fun Factory from Play-Doh is not going to endear yourself to your kids.
You may always have wanted a Wood Burning kit, but your parents were right not to buy you one!
Unless this is a pet that you want to care for, pay for and take for walks, leave pets off the list (unless it is a pet that easily turns into a meal, like say a Christmas Turkey or a Christmas Steak). They are cute, cuddly, and the black hole of Calcutta in terms of money and time (for the parents), so forget about it.
A Personal Gift
I read this one, and thought that was an interesting idea, but that assumes I understand enough about how my kids think and what they value in life, to create such a gift. Mothers, you may think you can tackle this question which rivals the Riddle of the Sphinx in complexity, but I caution you this is not as easy as you think. Your kid may say they really love the gift, but in 1 month look for where they may have left it, and figure out whether the gift was as personal as you thought.
What Gift Should You Give?
Why the heck ask me? My wife entrusts me with purchasing gifts for 1 person and that is her, and she is disappointed every Christmas (who knew a Bread Maker would be such a bad gift), so I am the last person to ask about Gift Giving advice.
I was given quite a few of these!
Credit card – Dad made me an authorized user on his Speedway card since he was paying for my gasoline when I was 16.
Grand Theft Auto – Birthday present I believe. Love that game. Have yet to shoot/stab/maim anyone in real life.
Over $250 – Yep, received an Xbox 360 for Xmas one year. Believe it cost $299.
Beer – Grandfather gave me a beer on my 18th birthday! Legal (even in the USA), but some people would disapprove. My parents take the opposite approach: Drink anywhere BUT my house.
Great advice, especially the cigarettes and beer gift advice.
to me, this is a pretty useless post. Every family is different and a lot of what you say doesn’t apply. Buying my son a 30-06 rifle for big game hunting was not a horrible gift idea. To this day, he tells me that was the best Xmas gift he’s ever received.
If anyone needs to be reminded not to buy their teen a pack of smokes, beer, or lingerie, then they are too much of a moron to bother trying to help.
Everyone has their opinions, I wouldn’t buy my son a gun, but if you feel safe giving someone underage a rifle, guess that is your choice.
I enjoy your blog, my daughter and I love reading all info about Christmas
It always helps if you ask the kids (even adults) what they want before beginning your Christmas shopping.
Of course, any kid requests that fall in the above categories are a big No.
How could your wife not love her bread maker?! I have one and I LOVE it. I use it every week.
Good list! The only thing missing was a chainsaw.
I knew I missed one!