If you have children, knowing how to avoid the worst gifts from Santa is the key to having a successful Christmas celebration. While not every gift is going to be a guaranteed hit, there are a few that are almost always sure to disappoint youngsters eagerly opening their presents.
List of Santa's Worst Gifts
Age appropriateness is a major consideration when choosing gifts from Santa. Many of the worst gifts from Santa are toys that are too babyish or so advanced your child can't understand how to play with them. While every child is different, and has different tastes and interests, it's generally a good idea to stay away from the items on the following lists, unless otherwise requested.
When shopping for your toddler, avoid these gifts:
- Anything with small pieces, like miniature building blocks
- Games that require reading skills
- Scary, violent, or nightmare-inducing video games
- Advanced electronics, like netbooks, tablets, and cell phones
Skip these items when shopping for your elementary aged child:
- Socks, underwear, and undershirts
- Simplistic toys, like stacking blocks
- Workbooks to supplement schoolwork
- Clothing with cartoon characters from baby or toddler programming
- Cleaning items, like laundry detergent or dust cloths
Tweens and Teens
Like elementary aged children, most tweens and teens would be horrified to find out that Santa left them underwear or socks. Other items from Santa that might be on their return list include:
- Holiday decorations, especially for other holidays like Valentine's Day or Halloween
- Personal hygiene items like razors or deodorant, sure to embarrass any teen girl or boy
- Overly sequined clothing, like t-shirts
- Books with dating advice
- Household decorations, especially ones featuring roosters or pigs
Even Santa Slips Up
Despite having a list of worst gifts, it's still possible Santa can slip up. He may bring the wrong version of a doll, or pick out the wrong size of trendy new basketball shoes. In fact, some toys may not even work! If this happens, try these tactics:
- Wrong toy item: Tell your child that Santa's elves must have mixed up their toy with another child's, but he realized it and arranged for an exchange at the local store later in the week. Then direct your child's attention to another gift.
- Broken toy: Uh-oh! A few sneaky mice from Santa's workshop ran away with important parts! Let your child know you'll put in a request with Santa right away to get them replaced. In fact, you could even call a friend (pre-arrange, just in case!), and, after the voicemail picks up, let your child leave "Santa" a message about the mice in his shop.
- Size is wrong: Whoops! Santa must have looked at the sizes on his list from last year/next year! If the item is too small, let your child know that Santa just couldn't believe how much he or she grew. If the item is too big, let them know that Santa must have thought that she or he ate as many cookies as he did, so he left some room to grow!
The best thing to do is let the child know that Santa is a very busy man, but he did his best. Make sure your child knows things will be fixed as soon as possible, and then direct him or her to another toy or some Christmas cookies.
How to Avoid Tears on Christmas Day
Besides avoiding the commonly despised Christmas gifts and sticking to a list of hot holiday toys for your kids, there are a few more things you can do to keep things stress-free for "Santa." Follow these tips to keep Christmas morning a joyous experience for everyone:
- Remove toys from their packaging and put them together before Christmas Eve. This way, if parts are missing, you have time to return the item and get one with everything included. On Christmas Eve, leave the items under the tree topped with a pretty ribbon bow.
- If you give your child a "worst" Christmas present from Santa as a gag gift, be sure to have the real present handy. Don't let the joke go too far, or your child may be upset the entire holiday.
- Have plenty of batteries in a variety of sizes available for electronic toys.
- Inspect all wrappings before putting them into the trash or recycling bag, making sure instructions or small parts are not accidently thrown away.
Coping When Santa Is on a Tight Budget
It's natural to want to make your child's Christmas as special as possible, but what should you do when you're on a tight budget? Keep expectations realistic. Children have little concept of how much items cost and most think Santa is capable of fulfilling any request. If your child is asking for an item you know isn't in the budget, here are some explanations you might try to help diffuse the situation:
- Santa doesn't have room on his sleigh for that item.
- Santa's elves don't know how to make that toy.
- Santa's elves are so busy they might not have time to make that toy this year.
- Santa thinks that toy is for older boys and girls.
- Santa has already picked out a special surprise for you this year.
- Santa won't bring things Mom and Dad don't think are appropriate.
Shop for Santa Gifts
When Christmas shopping, keep a list of favorite colors, sizes, and hobbies with you. "Santa" is sure to appreciate all of the extra help avoiding the worst gifts!