Dear Sunday School Teacher, VBS Worker, Person Behind the Counter, Random Person Who Likes Playing Santa Claus,
I appreciate that you are delighted by the presence of little children and like to make them happy. I am very grateful for your vote of confidence in my decision to spread my genes around. I understand that gifts are delightful to children and that you love to see them squeal and open them. I also realize that gifts are a safe bet and that there are many, many inexpensive options out there.
That said, I would appreciate it if you would take into consideration the effect your gifts will have once they have come over to my house (times four) and been subjected to the churning process that is family life for a couple of days. Or, if imagination fails you, consult this handy guide. Remember, kids will be happy opening anything, including toilet paper,* so you might as well pick out things that will not tempt me to hate you.
*I am referring to small children, of course. Teens and pre-teens only want cash and food, so don't waste your time. Medium-sized children are unpredictable.
Thank you for another opportunity to rot their teeth and wreak havoc with their immune system. And I don't even have the kids with allergies, who must hear yet again why they can't have that. When you are going to pay for dental visits and sit up all night with a cough, then you should consider offering candy to children.
Not bad, really. Yes, they get stuck to everything, but then, if you have kids, you have things stuck all over your walls (and their clothes) anyway, and stickers are far from the worst. Goo Gone works wonders. They don't have sugar and can be thrown away without a qualm in a few days.
Small Plastic Toys *
Oh yay, more things to step on in the night. And lose parts. And cause the children to cry when they break and get thrown away. And they WILL break, probably in the car on the way home, causing an emotional storm that will distract the driver and cause us to wreck. Do you want that on your conscience?
Although they are small and plastic and painful to step on, they at least do not break on the way home, and it doesn't matter so much when the parts get lost, I already have a large bin devoted to them, and I'm already stepping on Legos all the time, anyway, so it really doesn't matter to have a few more.
Pencils, Erasers, Etc. ***
I have mixed feelings here. On the one hand, they don't involve sugar or injured feet. There is usually a logical place to put them. On the other hand, the pencils and erasers in colorful designs that you always choose are terrible quality and will neither write nor erase, and when I want to write something they are ALL I can find. I hate that.
The kids can always use more paper to draw on. They are like little machines for converting stacks of paper into messier stacks of paper. I appreciate your contribution to their obsession.
Fun, disposable, active, and the worst that can happen is something gets soaked with soapy water. I'm a fan now. I wasn't when I had children under three, because then something getting soaked with soapy water was the ONLY thing that would happen.
Yes, balloons are fun and filled with joy and hope. Until they burst. And then all that built up happiness reverberates into despair. Have you ever spent the evening with a toddler who has just discovered the transience of human existence? (On the other hand, bigger kids are just after the biggest explosion possible. Which makes this a particularly bad choice for a house with multiple sizes of children.)
Is there a way to do a negative number of stars? Really? I think I will make a recording and blast it into your house at two in the morning.