Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What *Not* To Get Your Kids For Christmas


As the holidays approach, you're probably thinking about what to get your children for Christmas. Since most of us have limited funds right now, we have to figure out how to work within a budget that's probably even more strict this time of year than any other. I can't give you ideas as to what to get but, in an effort to help you work within this budget, I can give you suggestions as to what not to get. A lot of the newest gift fads are expensive, so it helps to have some of these things in mind when making your shopping list.

-If you get anything that can be used for hitting, make sure your kids know how to use it safely to avoid long-term injury to themselves or others. Sometimes you'll see things like 'super-hero hands' marketed to children without any kind of warning label about what can happen if someone gets hit in the head with them. At least boxing gloves come with warnings! Even if it doesn't say, 'boxing glove', you can bet that it will be used for hitting. Ditto whiffle-ball bats and things of that nature. Show your kids how to use them in such a way that won't cause blunt-force trauma, and have them restrict their usage to outside to avoid breaking anything.

-Make sure any clothes or toys you give kids are not fire hazards. Ditto lead-based paints, choking and electrocution hazards. If you do get such toys for your kids, teach them how to use them properly. Most toys will have warning labels on them, which makes it easier to identify such items. If you have two or more children and one is a baby or toddler, be sure the older siblings keep their toys out of the baby's reach. I say this because, however much we don't want them to, siblings do sometimes get into each other's things. I know that I got into my sister's makeup when I was a kid, and my oldest nephew used to get into my stuff when he lived with us.

-Whatever you do, don't get your kids a pet 'on the fly'. It's fine if you've talked about it before, but I say this because it might not be fair to the pet. Where I live, it's not uncommon for people to get their kids a baby chick or bunny for Easter. They're cute but, once the novelty of having one wears off, some kids lose interest and the pet is left on its own. It's bad enough when this happens to cats and dogs, but it's much worse for animals such as the aforementioned chicks who never learn to get their own food because they were separated from their mother so soon after birth. Plus, sometimes the animal needs a lot more care than the child is ready to give. This can sometimes happen with dogs and cats too, especially if you live in apartments or other houses that don't have a yard or porch.

I hope I've been able to point you in the right direction when it comes to gifts for your children. I'm not saying that you shouldn't splurge on your kids this Christmas so much as that some gifts have more 'staying power' than others. Save your big spending on gifts that you know won't end up in the closet in three weeks. Happy holidays!

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