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“Near the forfront of the next generation of parenting tools...Red Tricycle is not your mother's parenting aide. Readers are razr-phone-toting, book-club-joining moms who at least know what a blackberry is."

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Bad Baby Gifts

The newsletter and subsequent hoopla regarding the baby high heels made us think about gifts we’ve received for our kiddos that we just don’t like or flat-out despise. One of comments about the shoes from an RT reader was “It’d be at the back of the closet never to be seen again.” We get that.

The high heels didn’t hit us with much fury but there are several gifts that are actually in our house (some in use) that make us seethe. Most, we’re embarrassed to admit, have come from family. Funny how, when the baby was born, we wished we lived closer to family, but once they started sending gifts (and we had a few ill-fated vacations together) it became evident that 3,000 miles was just the right distance.

Here are suggestions for items that make bad baby gifts, culled from our own personal inventory. These are not hard and fast rules and it’s not to say you can’t buy any of these for your own kid, but if you’re angling for the role of “favorite aunt or uncle” or want to be invited to the next birthday party, it’s best to steer clear of these items so as not stoke the flames of resentment.

Here’s a photo of a t-shirt our kid received this Christmas. As you can see, it subtly screams, “Multi-Billion Dollar Movie Merchandising.” Nice. (again, if you love Winnie-the-pooh or Tinkerbell, feel free to indulge your passions with your own child. Just don’t expect others to share your enthusiasm). What you don’t get from the photo is that is has crazy red flashing lights that don’t turn off. Ever. This poor tot is a walking slot machine/billboard. We’re not sure if it will short-circuit in the rain. As an added feature, it’s made out of a tupperware-like substance most certainly chock-full of bisphenol-A. Just what you want rubbing up against a precious little body. The takeaway:
Bad Baby Gift #1: Anything with characters from TV shows or Disney films.
#2: Anything that flashes or makes noise that doesn’t have an off switch.
#3: Anything that could electrocute a child.
#4: Anything that contains BPA

Here’s a photo of a Hess Monster Truck our son also received this past Christmas (needless to say, much eggnog was consumed that day). This thoughtful gift offers a one-two punch for growing little minds: it will not only build a life-long adoration for large, loud, gas-guzzling motorized vehicles, but through strategically-placed logos, it also fosters an appreciation for the oil companies that are their (our) lifeblood.
Bad Baby Gift #5: Anything with a logo. A gasoline, political or religious logo may limit your visitation rights until child turns 18.

When mom sent a bunch of our old toys for our little guy to play with, we couldn’t help but feel a wave of nostalgia for the beloved Mayor McCheese and crew — we adored McDonalds as a kid. Our family went every Friday for a Filet-o-Fish sandwich (the Catholic no-meat-on-Friday thing). But given today’s rising obesity rates and lack of physical activity in school, letting a kid play with a toy cheeseburger is just wrong.
Bad Baby Gift #6: Anything related to fast food. This includes McDonald’s gift certificates (does anyone remember getting those as a kid?) and free Happy Meal tchotchkes (see item #1).

Each Christmas, our mother would give the girls in the family a Collector Edition Barbie but wouldn’t let us take them out of the box. So basically, she let us look at these magnificent dolls, then shuffled them off to some undisclosed storage facility, never to be seen again. It was no surprise then, when our son was born that she sent this Timeless Collection GI Joe, who arrived with a missile launcher and hand grenades. Though we confiscated the weapons, we did ripped open the box to let our son have at the action figure (saving thousands of dollars in therapy).
Bad Baby Gift #7: Anything “weapons” related. This includes toy guns.
Bad Baby Gift #8: Toys that children are not actually allowed to play with.

Of course, our kids are madly in love with every item featured so we haven’t found a way to dispose of them yet. But we have gotten smarter about screening baby gifts.

Come on, you know you have a few crummy baby gifts you’ve either received or perhaps even given yourself (before you had your own kids, of course). Spill the beans and tell us about your most despised.

5 Responses to “Bad Baby Gifts”

  1. redmondmom Says:

    My 3yo got an accordian for a gift (from MY mother). Although it’s a toy one, it’s the noisiest thing ever. Perhaps bagpipes or a drumset might be slightly worse. I told my mom, it might be a toy we could leave at HER house!

  2. seamom Says:

    barbies and bratz dolls!!! for the love of g*d, do not buy my daughter gifts that make women look like bimbos!

  3. eatapeach Says:

    redmondmomd - you have the right idea about leaving the toys at your mother’s house. our kids have toys that are not allowed in our house - some kind of tickle me elmo nightmare, trucks with sirens, etc. gifts from my parents that we have chosen to leave at their house. what is it with parents? are they really that out of touch, or is this payback for all the grief we caused them over years?

  4. rp Says:

    Honestly, I think the ridicule of gifts received is a little bit insulting.

    I’m all for the “smart” gifts and I personally am against licensed goods, etc. But are not all alike.

    Please consider that perhaps instead of ridiculing gifts that were likely bought with the best of intentions, to instead specify and communicate clearly to the giver. Why not use a gift that does not fit into your preconceived plan as an opportunity to show your children how to receive graciously. And how to respectfully address the issue. A back closet is equally as wasteful.

  5. eatapeach Says:

    rp - I don’t think anyone said they weren’t graciously receiving the gifts. that’s kinda the point - you (and your kid) receive the gift graciously, but secretly you hate it.

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