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Christmas Gifts I Won’t Buy My Nephews (2016 edition)


Once again, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. A time in which wallets are completely emptied of cash and credit cards have negative balances. A time in which some of us realize, often too late, that a savings account specifically for Christmas would’ve been a Really Good Idea.  I’ve informed most of the adults in the family unit that my gifts won’t be quite as special, quite as thoughtful, as they have been over the past couple of years, not just because I’m going broke but also because I’ve not had any time to myself this term to be creative, let alone thoughtful. I’ve not posted here in quite awhile, so I know this shows. It’s been a pretty decent term though, all in all. Some of the writing isn’t necessarily up to college standard (and, man, I have tried; I really have), but I’ve genuinely sweet students in my classes and in the creative writing club, students who seem to really want to learn something and love being involved with the school.


(Okay, I know this isn’t relevant to my entry today, but I needed an excuse to post the awesome pic of the campus’ creative writing club members with author — and buddy — Jeff Strand! See why I’ve been busy?)

Anyway, it helps that everything is only a click away, so I can do all my shopping without having to set foot in a store. As I do every year for the past couple of years, I research… and I research…because kids, as ever, elude me. I love the hell out of them, but I don’t get them at all. This year, the boys have lists (even the little ones), so that helps of course. As with any lists, however, they’re likely to change, so again, I research just in case…

This year, the “hot gift” lists I’ve seen have few disappointing selections. Kids today are sharp and funny (and exhausted from the mounds of homework they all have), so it’s apparent that toy companies have scaled a bit back on the stupidity. I’m also glad to see that some of them are getting rid of the gender-specific search terms because who gives a shit if your son likes rhinestone kits and your daughter likes Tonka dump trucks?

Still, there are some baffling, awful, and/or unoriginal ideas for what to get kids this year:


I know The Elf on the Shelf gift/”tradition” has been around for quite some time, and it was cute at first, if a teeeeeensy bit…creepy. The idea is to place the little guy around as a “spy” here and there to report kids’ deeds to Santa. Yeah, creepy. Anyway, I still keep seeing the Elf on toy lists this year, as well as exasperated, weary parents’ grumblings on social media. It wasn’t that long ago when some parents took it upon themselves to create naughty scenarios for Mr. Elf. Even that has grown stale though.


This is a giant burger eraser (complete with the requisite Ketchup pen and mustard highlighter). It’s cute, right? I don’t know how an eraser of such size could possibly be effective in little hands. Also, it looks too real…I mean, I love hamburgers, and it…it looks positively edible. How many kids will wind up with eraser-mouth this year with this gift? I’m not a kid, and I know I would.


This is a kids’ essential oil kit. I shit you not. For when your little one doesn’t buy into the whole Flintstone vitamin gummies and kiddie Tylenol thing because it’s all in cahoots with Big Pharma, which is out to destroy us all. That’s cool, sure. No one really likes Big Pharma’s nefarious ways, but essential oils…? Really?


Maybe your little guy wants a sliver of land on the moon…? (And yes, that is an actual gift.) But what happens when you try to explain to your kid that he won’t be able to actually VISIT his piece of space rock until he’s old enough to become an astronaut…? By then, the property values on the moon probably won’t be quite as good as they were in 2016. Gotta explain to the kiddo that a nice little Mars condo may be the better future investment.


Look, I’ve a nephew who loves to rock out, but he’s eight, and I can’t even imagine what kind of hell my sister would be in if I were to indulge in his drum solo fantasies. Still though…it could be a great gift for future passive-aggressive days when she and I aren’t getting along.


What kid wouldn’t want to play a game where he tried to say words around a giant plastic “mouth opener” straight out of a dentist-chair-Saw-movie-inspired contraption?


This is a human slingshot. I know, right? What happens to them? What do they do? Do they just fling themselves into each other? How the hell does it work? Also note that while it was listed as an “older” kids’ toy for 2016, the picture shows grown-assed hipsters looking as if they’re having a ball braced for…flung hugs?


My mom got me stock in Paramount when I was twelve. It tanked. Nothing like teaching your little one how to gamble in our rocky economy. And what a boring present for a kid. “Here, honey, instead of getting you a new game console like you’d wanted, Santa bought you stock in Nintendo! Isn’t that great? Here’s a framed piece of paper to prove it!”

knifethrowingNothing like teaching your kid how to expertly throw knives. And when he’s finished practicing with the plastic ones in the kit, he’ll be more than ready for the Ginsu and Henckel sets you have safely stored away in the kitchen. Who knows? Maybe later he’ll be ready for his own set of Ninja stars, too, and then he’ll move on to chainsaw juggling!

Thanks, but, nooooo, I don’t think so.


23 thoughts on “Christmas Gifts I Won’t Buy My Nephews (2016 edition)

    • Thanks, yeah, it was a good one. Again, I just wish the writing had been…well, better. Alas. As for the knives, I’m not into blades, even the plastic ones. If I could figure out the human slingshot (and how to use someone else for it), that could be interesting.

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  1. Too funny!!! Congratulations on a good semester. Your writing club looks fantastic. I’m the kind of aunt that buys my nieces and nephews ‘the goat for the third world family’ in their name. Thanks Aunt Meg…. 😥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks much! Yeah, it’s taken quite awhile for the club to get rolling, and they did well (The process to create an “active” club on our campus is so time-consuming and tedious). As for auntie gifts, I’m leaning towards a group gift like I did last year — probably movie gift cards for everyone old enough to appreciate a day out. The little nephs though…Maybe they’d appreciate a goat for a third world family…or a piece of the moon…?

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  2. Congrats on a good semester! Having sweet students in your classes must feel very rewarding given how busy it’s been keeping you.
    I’m snort-laughing over the mouth-opener – my coffee almost shot out of my nose just now but it was totally worth it. Am I terrible for wanting to buy that human slingshot for the annoying kids next door?

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  3. Pingback: Meet & Greet – HAPPY NEW YEAR! | A Texan's View of Upstate New York

  4. Enjoyed your present ideas! I am sure they would have had a blast with them. Besides, a midnight conversation at New Years about the possibilities of these presents would have been fun , if I were an eavesdropper.

    It was interesting to hear about your writing club. I run a writer’s guild at our middle school. It is now in its ninth year. It has been a great deal of fun to watch my students kindle a love for the art.

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    • Thanks much for popping by and for reading, of course. They’re not present ideas, really…They’re presents I actually wouldn’t get my nephews. And I didn’t. 🙂 Gifts consisted of a bunch of tech. stuff they’d asked for (and they seemed to like them — kids change their minds so quickly so I never can be sure).

      Like you, I love seeing students engaged with honing a craft, learning from others. When Jeff Strand came to talk to them about the craft and publishing, I’d bought copies of his latest book for them, too, for him to sign for them. I hope to continue this with them because while they enjoy the workshopping element, as I’m sure your students in the guild do as well, I feel they also need to meet professionals and learn what it’s like to submit and publish. Their world though…it’s a-changin’ with new avenues in publishing.

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