Why I Trash Some of My Kid's Christmas Presents

Mom Moment 84

opening Christmas presentsI got a text message this week from my daughter's godmother asking if I could give her some ideas for Christmas presents for the kid. I gladly supplied the name of a much-asked for book and her favorite clothing store. If only more people were like her, I'd be more than happy to do the same. It would prevent what I know is to come after Christmas: the annual trashing of the gifts.

Not every gift, mind. I only trash the just plain awful stuff given to my kid by the clueless. Take the fake nails for the 7-year-old.

I'd ask who the heck thinks of giving a 7-year-old fake nails, but I think first we must ask: who MAKES fake nails for a 7-year-old? Because there are Angry Birds on these nails, I am thinking they really were designed for kids. But, hello, fake nails! She's SEVEN! It's gifts like these that make me feel like a Scrooge as I spirit them out from under the Christmas tree while she reads her new books and plays with her new toys.

Don't get me wrong: I love that other people love my kid enough to buy her something. But that doesn't mean I have to let her keep them. The fake nails have already been taken away (actually, she handed them over, knowing they were inappropriate), along with some shower gel chock full of ingredients that give me the heebie jeebies.

Go ahead and call me a Grinch, but let's be realistic here. Have you kept every gift you've ever gotten? The concept of re-gifting was born precisely because this problem exists ... and not just in gifting to kids.

Sometimes presents suck. Maybe it's because the gift giver meant well but simply didn't know much about the recipient. Maybe it's because the gift giver is a loon. Maybe it's just because you are realllllllllly picky.

Point is: we can be gracious about gifts given to our kids. And then we, the parents, have the power to do with them what we want. We can let the kids keep them, or we can make a trash pile and a donate pile, and get them out of the house.

I'm not ashamed to admit I do it. So, who's with me?

Do you let your kids keep all of the Christmas presents or do you take some of them away?


Image by Jeanne Sager



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nonmember avatar manda

I have done this before. One year, someone gave my daughter some bratz dolls. We took them away. But also explained as best we could to her as a 6 year old why we think they are inapropriet.

nonmember avatar Jemma

My in-laws (now ex) gave my 16 year old son a shotgun. This was a kid who was on antidepressants for years due to clinical depression and suicidal thoughts! Clueless, unthinking, just wrong!

Coles... Coles_mom

I hope the person that took the time to get those nails for your daughter doesn't read your blog. What a slap in the face! I agree that nails seem a bit silly for a 7 year old - however, they could have made a fun mommy/daughter night over hot cocoa and a movie....let her put the nails on for the night with mommy helping. My little girl loves doing that- even though they wouldn't stay on for more than an hour. She likes feeling "grown-up" once in a while.

Scrlt... ScrltBegonia

I throw stuff away too!!! Like nail polish/eyeshadow sets for a 5 year old...really??!! Anything that is junk or a million.pieces they get to play with but then I throw away. It's irritating to me when people waste money on crap gifts from dollar general or somewhere similar. At that point they should just save their money cuz they're basically throwing it in the trash.

whate... whatever82

I am a mom-to-be, and I can totally see myself doing this.  It's already started with the returning of the baby shower gifts that I don't find useful or appropriate.  I've moved several times in the past few years and found that extra "stuff" in my house only adds to stress, or it ends up in a box in the basement, so if I don't find a gift for my child appropriate, it is going to Goodwill or being returned.

Estel... EstellaHavisham

Nothing to do with the post, per se, but the verb "to spirit" is so underused. I, too, would spirit away heinous stick on nails. There must be a clause somewhere in the parent handbook that encourages enthusiastic interventions for potential bad-habits. 

Zamaria Zamaria

It would have to be pretty dangerous or extremely inappropriate for me to toss a gift that someone gave my child. Regardless of whether I like it or not, that person spent their time and money (even if it did just come from the dollar store) on a gift for my child. I will appreciate it, and teach my children to appreciate any gift they receive, whether it's exactly what they wanted or not. Geez. People like you are the reason that I don't buy gifts for other people's kids very often. That's just rude.

cecil... cecillesmommy

I don't throw away unless its something that's going to break as soon as she breathes on it. Otherwise I take it an put it in my closet on a shelf for when I feel she is ready for it. She has two Barbie dolls that are up there from her 3 year birthday that she will probably get for her 4 year.

Rachel Megalos

We live in an 800 sq ft condo in an urban center.. my bil called up last Christmas asking us to measure an area in our living room - it turned out he was planning on buying our then 2 yr old a play castle.  You know the kind that people with big backyards buy so their kids can play outside!!!!  Luckily we were able to convince him not too, but he was quite affronted at first that we didn't think it was a good idea.

jalaz77 jalaz77

How about giving it to a child who may want it?? I have never trashed gifts. That's rude returning things is one thing but trashing is bad...a shotgun to a depressed teen was really dumb, Jemma, dang can't believe someone would do that.

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