teaching the art of accepting crappy gifts

I'm still recovering from the holiday break. It is hard to get back into the swing of things after you've slacked off for so long. 

Really? I'm expected to put clothes on my kids again? Can't January be a pajama month too?

So before I jump into completely other random things I thought it would be weird if I didn't say something about our little holiday break. So I will say something…


We gave Crappy Boy a particular gift and he really didn't like it:

We already know he suffers from appreciation deficiency. But this was something else. This was him suffering from honesty.  

Turns out, pretending you like a terrible gift and saying "thank you" doesn't come naturally.

Fortunately, this happened at home. I still had time to encourage proper manners before we saw our extended family. 

I had a lot of teaching to do. I taught him that some kids don't have toys and he should be happy with what he has. I taught him that it is the thought that counts. I taught him about hurting feelings of other people. 

I also briefly mentioned something about returning and exchanging items. 

Then we left to be with family. His new knowledge would be put to the test. I was feeling very confident as a teacher. 

At first, I thought he was going to ace the whole exam.

He said thanks when I could tell he didn't like it.

But then something went wrong.

And this time? It was the teacher's fault. Oops.

Despite being embarrassing, it was also funny. Because embarrassing things are always funny. The gift-giver just laughed and said the gift-receipt was in the bag. Isn't it great when people are cool like that?  

Anyway, I was still concerned for Crappy Boy's apparent lack of skill in appreciating gifts and accepting them gracefully. Crappy Papa & I talked about it. Do we spoil him? Does he have an unhealthy sense of entitlement? Do we remember being like this when we were five?

Turns out, we were. I remember being upset over receiving the wrong kind of big girl underwear (I wanted The Smurfs but got something stupid, yes, I'm still bitter!) and Crappy Papa told me that he cried with tears over some lacing toy thing because he hated it so much. 

So we decided to cut him some slack. We were expecting way too much.    

The next day he received a card in the mail with cash in it. 

And he surprised us when we were least expecting it. 

Isn't that great when kids are cool like that? 


Do you have a crappy gift story? 







This entry was posted in crappy pictures, five, good stuff, holidaze, parenting, toys. Bookmark the permalink.

163 Responses to teaching the art of accepting crappy gifts

  1. Karen says:

    What a wonderful story – with an excellent ending! : )

  2. Trisha says:

    My 4 year old was opening a gift from my sister-in-law, which was some clothes…and he said (and this is a direct quote…the poor grammar is his, not mine), “Clothes is not a present!”


  3. Sarah Johnson says:

    My oldest step daughter is horribly unappreciative, she just has the honesty issue and she is way too honest. There were a few gifts she opened and had a rude comment to follow. I could’ve died. I wish our ending was more like yours. : )

  4. Christy says:

    My four-year old was excited to open his Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa. It was a t-shirt from Israel (from their recent trip). He threw it down and grouched, “I don’t want a stupid t-shirt!” (But honestly, who gives a 4-year-old nothing but a t-shirt for a gift?)

  5. Kelly says:

    My son is only 2, but he did the same version as Trisha’s son… opening a box of shirts and throwing them, the box, and the wrapping paper all in the trash pile without a second glance. Oops indeed!!

  6. Kristin says:

    I got a crappy gift… seeds in some sort of Apocalypse can and a salt water nasal inhaler… it was hard for me to pretend to be excited.

  7. Dana King says:

    My Momma was so nice to tell all my relatives that I loved The Smurfs when I was little. So, lots and lots of Smurf toys later, IT HAPPEND. My poor grandfather had no clue who these charaters were, and he got me what he thought was a stuffed cat from The Smurfs. Well, that cat is evil and wants to kill/eat/murder my little blue pals….I cried and threw Azriel across the room and ran to the next room. I remember exchanging it the next day for a Barbie Canapy Bed!!!

  8. Aww! Crappy Boy isn’t so crappy. I love it when kids have such big hearts.

  9. Amber Dusick says:

    Awww, but it is TRUE! Unless it is for a kid who is particularly into clothes, they aren’t much fun.

  10. Amber Dusick says:

    That is hilarious, Dana!

  11. Jessie says:

    Awww, that’s a gorgeous story! My son is still young so he opened three presents from us and then ignored the rest to play with them. At least we got something right, I guess!

  12. Christi says:

    My four-year-old likes to inform people when they give us duplicate gifts. I thought I’d prepped him against telling anyone this at Christmas, but yeah, apparently it goes against all that’s within him to NOT let people know.

    PS – The end of your story made me get all choked up. You should warn people about things like that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Larissa says:

    That is such a cute story! We had something happen once with our nephew for Christmas years ago. We got him some Veggie Tales DVDs after checking with his mother to make sure he did in fact watch Veggie Tales and liked them. She said yes, so we bought them. Then on Christmas we were so excited to watch him open them (since we had no kids of our own at the time) . He tore the paper off and exclaimed happily “Veggie Tales!!!”. We were so glad he liked it. That was followed immediately by “I HATE Veggie Tales!!!”. Apparently he didn’t get the memo yet about pretending to like presents.

  14. Amber Dusick says:

    Oh no! But it sure is a funny story to tell later.

  15. Shannon says:

    wooo weee that made the flood gates of my hormone induced tears swing wide open!!! (dh laughs cause I cry at everything ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think in the end those are the kind of things we want our kids to do. It wasn’t a lesson you taught him, but something he thought would be a good idea, all on his own. So proud!

  16. Amber Dusick says:

    Oh yes, he does that too! “We already have this!”

  17. Liz says:

    Yes, and it’s embarrassing. For my 11th birthday, I received a copy of Toy Story. In a moment of greed and lack of appreciation that I was getting a gift at all, I blurted, “I HATE Toy Story!” I immediately felt awful and the friend that gave it to me cried after the party was over. I don’t know what I’m going to do when my son reaches the unappreciative age. He’s 2 right now, and still excited whenever he gets presents at all. Christmas was wonderful for him! He even got excited about getting a pair of socks and DEMANDED that he get to wear them immediately.

  18. Amber Dusick says:

    I know, 2 is the MAGIC age for gifts. I could give Crappy Baby an empty box and he would have said, “OH, I WUV DIS BOX!” Melt. (I hope you & your friend could laugh about Toy Story later)

  19. HaleyStudio says:

    That is such a sweet ending!

    I don’t recall saying anything out loud about gifts, but one year I simply *would not* wear the brown shoes my mother had picked out at the shoe store — I had to get Docksiders. Which were at least twice as expensive. I know now it was hard for her to afford them. Sorry, Mom!

  20. Yestheyareallmine says:

    My 6 year old opened a Fisher Price skateboard from his grandparents and loudly exclaimed “That’s not a real skateboard, that’s for babies!” Oops. >.<

  21. Erica says:

    awwww! What an awesome kid you have there ๐Ÿ™‚ and Shannon, I teared up too ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Sarah says:

    In this case, his grammar is perfect…..”a present” is singular, and “clothes”–a collective noun–is used as a singular (assuming it was all bundled into one gift box). ๐Ÿ™‚ Perfect agreement between subject, verb, and object! Well done!

  23. Theresa says:

    My son is 10, with ASD…over-honesty is always a problem! We are still working on “polite lies”. So far, a smile with “it was nice of you to get me a gift” is the best we can do…

  24. Robin says:

    Aw! I may be pregnant, but when I cried at the end it was legit, not just hormones. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Amber Dusick says:

    Memories like that with the newfound understanding of them through an adult lens are so special, aren’t they?

  26. Jen says:

    I was SO THRILLED when my 2 boys opened a gift from their uncle and it was a brand new lego wii game… That we already own. They said “Oh! We have this already” and as the gift giver’s face fell- Boy #1 says “but this is AWESOME because now we have 2, and we can each have a game to ourselves so we can save it however we want! THANKS!!!” I was SO Proud of them. ๐Ÿ™‚ (we did let gift-giver have the game back.. as we really didnt’ need 2 of the same game, but I was proud mama in THIS particular instance of duplicate gifting, LOL.

  27. Julie says:

    I wish it was socially acceptable for the parent to be disappointed and cry when the grandparents gave the baby nothing but loud, battery-powered toys for Christmas. They should have at least included some Advil for Mommy. The crappiest thing is that the munchkin LOVES the loudest toy. I still hear the music in my head when I sleep at night. (BTW: There’s a picture that my father-in-law took of my face when I opened the package. I look like I smelled something bad.)

  28. April says:

    Depends on what country’s English grammar rules you go by. That is correct grammar in some countries, but not in others.

  29. heather says:

    When I was 2 or 3, apparently all I could talk about leading up to Christmas was “toy corn”. I was so excited about getting ‘toy corn’ for Christmas, I just couldn’t wait.

    Well, my parents had NO idea what I meant by “toy corn.” They looked everywhere, talked to everybody, but just couldn’t figure it out. Christmas Day came and they were DREADING my inevitable meltdown over the horrific lack of “toy corn.”

    Apparently, not only was there no meltdown, but I never even mentioned the stuff again.

    Then there was the year, I think when I was 13, that my grandmother and grandfather – recently divorced and not in contact with each other – each gave me exact same watch, just in a different colour. Not even a trendy watch either, no Swatch or anything like that. It was a very grownup style, pretty watch. One white one, one pink one.

    I wasn’t unappreciative though. I thought it was pretty nifty, in fact.

  30. Katie says:

    I’ve been a faithful reader of your blog since someone posted a link to, “what it is like to (not) sleep at night” on Facebook and I just want to tell you that I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also have two “Crappy Kids” (daughters) ages 5 and 2 and I can relate to every single thing you post about. This is awesome because it’s like reading about my own life, only it’s funny…and illustrated! We also had to teach our 5 year old the art of accepting crappy gifts this year. We thought that she was doing great with it until we realized that she only had one line that she used every time (“Thank you. I love it.” Said in a completely monotone voice). We had to teach her a couple more since we knew most of the crappy gifts were likely to come from the same relative. ๐Ÿ˜‰ She actually did great! I think next year we will work on teaching her more about giving to those in need. So many Crappy Lessons, so little time…

  31. Rebecca Heyer says:

    I remember when I was pretty young our next door neighbor sewed both my sister and I beautiful handmade quilts for Christmas. Handmade quilts with blocks about 2 inches by 2 inches. She was an elderly lady, and probably had arthritis. I opened mine and said thank you. Then I said something like “I was really hoping it would be a Lite-Brite.” We were at her house, so my mother sent me home while my family stayed. I was crying because I was in trouble, but it really hit me what a jerk I had been. I still have that quilt.

  32. Jennett Swan says:

    What an inspiring story! My daughter is five and has always been pretty good about keeping her thoughts to herself if she gets a gift she doesn’t care for. She will smile, say, “Thank you” then gently set the gift down and go on to the next. It has always made me proud that our pre-gift opening reminders usually work. On her 5th birthday last year, she got a bit carried away with the kindness when she proceeded to have the same remark for each gift, “Ooooh! It’s what I’ve always wanted!” It became pretty obvious after the third gift that she was just being polite ๐Ÿ˜‰

  33. K says:

    We wrapped up bike helmets for my sons (aged 7 and 5) this year and put them under the tree, while my dad kept the matching bikes in his car. When the boys opened their helmets, they were so thrilled at getting them they didn’t even question when they were supposed to wear them. Having felt sure an immediate panic-search for bikes would follow, I felt a surge of pride at how sweetly grateful they were (and a smaller surge of guilt for doubting them.)

    Then we all had some fun pretending to debate about whether we had anything else to give them, messing with their little heads in the best holiday tradition!

  34. Connie says:

    When my oldest nephew was in the 4-6 year stage, he refused to open any gift boxes that were flat and rectangular, because he knew that the boxes contained clothes. He tried tossing them aside, and when they were given back to him by his parents, tried to con his mother into opening them.

  35. tarina says:

    We had that for the first time this year. Our 3 year old got the same giant talking Dinosaur thing for his birthday on the 23rd and for christmas. As luck would have it though, one gift giver lost a second talking dinosaur that was meant to accompany it, so we can go exchange it guilt free

  36. Ann says:

    I desperately wanted a camera when I was about 10 or 11. At Christmas we opened our gifts from the aunt out West – gifts she’d shopped for on a limited budget, early enough to ship them to her sister in time for Christmas morning.

    My brother got a camera.

    I don’t remember what I got, just that I saw Adam’s camera and immediately choked up. I went and hid in the bathroom until Mom came and both comforted and told me to suck it up. It takes skill to make someone feel better and worse at the same time. Only mother’s can manage it, I think.

  37. Misty says:

    I once gave an ex-boyfriend’s nephew what (I thought) was a very well thought-out present for a 5yo. He threw it away and said “I hate this!!” – in front of my face. I thought he was selfish and his parents were horrible parents. Then I had kids. Now I know better ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. tarina says:

    Lol! My husband and his brothers have a contest each year to see who can get their nieces/nephews the most obnoxious gift. Ballpits, drum sets, nerf guns, those horrible dolls that move their mouth and sing when you hit the tummy… Evil.

  39. momlovesyoga says:

    That is so true! Your blog always makes me laugh and smile. Thank you for sharing! With a 5 and a 2 yo some days I need a blog induced laugh bc otherwise I’d be drunk in the corner w a bottle of vodka…

    My 5 yo can be brutally honest. It’s tough to learn when to be honest and when to not be…sort of an odd lesson that takes time to learn…wait, NOW we lie? Oh wait, now we DON’T lie?

    I had a great aunt who crocheted, and I did not appreciate the art form at the time (now I do!). Every Christmas she crocheted booties for me (they hurt my feet to walk in…so i really REALLY loved them). It took a lot of effort to say thank you, every year…so I sort of feel our little one’s pain!

  40. sarah says:

    Aww thats so sweet. My moms husband doesnt believe in having a Christmas tree up because he says its not part of christmas, so when my nieces visited the oldest saw there was no tree and was concerned about where santa would put their presents. So she offered to buy them a tree. It was sweet.

  41. That last part is totally sweet!

    Kids can be so funny…

  42. Kids can be so funny.

    That last part was really sweet, though!

  43. LuEm says:

    Our 4 year old doesn’t typically come right out and say she doesn’t like a gift. We can usually tell, though, because the corners of her mouth turn down & she gets sort of weepy. In our minds, she’s that way because she’s so afraid of hurting our feelings. Which of course we think is precious!

  44. Carol says:

    Step-mom-in-law just emailed me that she wanted to exchange the dog toy that rolls noisily across the floor for one that squeaks. It says on the package it’s supposed to squeak but you just can’t hear the squeaking because the rest of it is so dang loud. She thought it was defective. And this is the second one to enter our house. It took all my diplomacy to reply that our house is LOUD ENOUGH already. The kids love it so I guess it’s just me with appreciation deficiency for crappy gifts.

  45. bonita says:

    Oh wow, what a sweet ending to your story! Kids are amazing when you least expect it, and that’s awesome. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  46. Gina says:

    My son is 3. This year foe Christmas we were really on a tight budget. Along with getting used toys from Freecycle, I also had a new pair of shoes for my oldest. When he opened them (it happened to be the first gift that was passed out) he opened the box, peeked in, closed it fast and proclaimed “SHOES?!?!? I WANT TOOOOOOOYS!”. It’s funny now thinking back to it. He got his toys and the funniest part of it all ia they play with the used toys more than the new toys Grandma and Papa bought them!

  47. Elaine says:

    We play a game every night a few days before Christmas/birthdays. It’s a “Thank you” game. Where everyone goes around the house, finds something random, and gives it to each other, then we practice saying thankyou. For instance. I gave my 5yo a comb. He said with bright eyes and a huge smile “Thank you for my comb! I never had one of my very own!!” Then he gave me a pair of underwear and I said “Thank you for giving me CLEAN underwear! You can never have too much of them!” Then we seek out new random items and repeat. This gave is fun, and educational, and silly…because really…how much can you say about a toilet paper roll?! lol!

  48. Stephanie says:

    We play the “thank you game” with my kids. We take a gift bag and take turns putting something inside. The recipient opens the “gift” and has to think of something nice to say about it. They do pretty well at saying something appreciative…but even so, there was the time when my then-4 year old opened a gift from my in-laws and said “Um, I think you made a mistake, grandma. These are socks.”

  49. Kristyn says:

    Hilarious! Reminds me of the Christmas my daughter was four. My mother-in-law had painstakingly hand-stitched Raggedy Anne and Andy dolls for her grandkids (I think there was seven of them at that point!!). We arrived on Boxing Day, and after dinner, my mother-in-law proudly picked up each doll, smoothing their clothes and placing them in the arms of her grandchildren. Each doll had matching outfits, and a hand-written tag around their neck with the recipient’s name.

    As my daughter reached out to receive hers, she looked around and said, “But where’s my present?” And when I tried to explain to her that Nana had made this beautiful doll just for her, she cast it to the ground and wailed, “But it’s not a present!!”

    We finally figured out that she was refusing to accept it as her gift because…. it wasn’t wrapped. I was horrified and embarrassed, and it was obvious that my mother-in-law was offended, although she graciously promised to wrap the gifts in the future. Sigh.

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  50. melissa says:

    When my mom gives the kids clothes, she always hands the box to me and says “they won’t care about this, it’s for you.”

    • Lacey says:

      I think I might hint this suggestion to people as my son gets older…. children’s clothing really ARE for the parents until the kids hit that age where they actually care about what they’re wearing (more than just having a favorite outfit I mean). It’s nice to teach kids appreciation, but really, it can only stretch so far ๐Ÿ˜›

  51. When my mom gives the kids clothes, she always hands the box to me and says “they won’t care about this, it’s for you.”

  52. LindZ says:

    I Looooove that! I can’t wait until my little one is old enough to try this out! What a great idea to have fun while teaching manners.

  53. Cheryl P. says:

    My two year old is a clothes thrower when he opens them. He did it at his birthday (in October) and at Christmas when my parents gave him a tractor shirt. He said, “Trackor!” very enthusiastically then threw the shirt on the floor. Luckily, everyone chalks it up to him being two years old.

    Christmas was a long process. Open a gift, play with the gift for five to ten minutes. Up until my parents gave him his “big” gift. (Mind you, this is their first and only grandchild right now). They got him a riding tractor. He didn’t play with anything else for the rest of the day. He was outside in the cold on that tractor. And yes, they are usually reserved for three year olds but my son knows how to drive one because the neighbor boy, who is three, has one too. Now they both get on their tractors and ride around. So cute!

    So, long story short, the grandparents’ gift triumphed over Santa’s and parents’ gifts. *sigh*

    • Lacey says:

      My mom had this competition with her in-laws… all throughout my childhood I would either receive TWO of whatever the hottest toy was that year (Cabbage Patch Kids, Carebears, etc) or the Grandparents would pull out all the stops and be the clear winners. As we’re heading into my son’s second year I’m thinking I’m going to LET my parents win… that way my husband can’t blame me when we end up with the most loud, obnoxious toys on the face of the planet….

  54. L.R.Knost says:

    JUST had this discussion with another mama today! Really, expecting a little person to get the distinction between “I didn’t eat the chocolate cookie” with chocolate all over his face and “Thank you for the nice gift” when given a pack of underwear is just expecting way too much. Social niceties are for people who’ve perfected the art of lying, not for people who get sent to time out for it! Your little guy found the loophole, lol. And then ended beautifully by showing his sweet spirit. Love it!

  55. Robyn says:

    My 3.5 year old opened a very pretty dress from my mom and said “this is NOT a cool present!” Luckily my mom IS cool and just laughed, and it was a Hanukkah present so it gave us ample time to prep our kiddo for the Christmas hoopla at my in-laws’ houses!

  56. SM says:

    I was on the phone with my sister-in-law to thank her for some adorable handmade gifts that she had her mother send for the kids. My daughter, three, was very polite and said her thanks, and then I had to go and take it a step too far. Upon asking (on speakerphone) if she wanted to go visit my sister-in-law and my brother, she loudly announced, “No! I hate Uncle (insert name here)!” I think that she really does ever since he screamed like a lunatic at her once, and I don’t blame her for her feelings, but it was still a turn for the worse in what was an otherwise well-behaved thank you.

  57. Roshanne says:

    I gave our neighbours 6 year old son a Ken doll so he could join in with the Barbie games our daughters play. He made a face like he was vomiting when he opened it!! But a week later they all played happily together! Oh and yesterday he asked his Dad if he could get a Barbie Campervan like my daughters for his birthday! Lol ๐Ÿ˜€

  58. Deb says:

    My (just turned) 3 year-old opened all her birthday cards followed by a report… “It doesn’t have money in it.”
    So I was nervous this Christmas when her (feelings-are-easily-hurt) Great-Grandmother handed her a card… Well… luckily (I think) there was money in it. She danced around the room waving the money in her grandparents & parents faces saying “Money!! Oh, there is money in my card! I can buy bread and butter and milk!” Her Great-grandmother appeared amused and said “Wow, she really likes money.”
    Who is this little girl that I am raising?!

  59. Reminds me of those t-shirts that were popular in the 80’s and 90’s that read “Grandma and Grandpa went all the way to (enter tropical location here) and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”. SO TRUE!

  60. Betsy says:

    So my 20 yr. old college son gave us the best gift ever. He took all of our old videos and transferred them to organized DVDs. On one of them was Christmas when he was 3. He broke into tears when he received a very cool piano thingy. He was upset because his brother got a telescope. Fast forward 17 years, he is a music student at one of the best music schools in the country…. pretty sure it was the cool piano thingy that gave him his start.

  61. Robin says:

    My husband’s aunt gave me neck firming cream. Uhmm seriously? I’m 42 ๐Ÿ™

  62. Karen says:

    So, I started to have the “some kids don’t get toys” conversation with my 4 year-old, but it quickly devolved into “why doesn’t Santa bring them toys?”…. How could I have not having anticipated this very obvious question?? Would love suggestions on how to answer this from all you brilliant, funny Moms out there.

  63. Erin says:

    No, that’s good advice!!! You gotta start way BEFORE your neck gets saggy!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  64. Heather says:

    My 2 year old opened a few gifts this year and said “Momma, I don’t like it”. With a simple explanation of what being grateful means (I mean, she is 2, so I don’t expect much), she did surprise me. Instead of “being rude”, she graciously opened her gifts, put them in the corner and asked if she could go play. Ugh.

  65. Kim says:

    Sometimes I think people clean out their closets at Christmas. One relative of mine always gives me her Clinique bonus gifts. Trying not to laugh is harder than pretending to like it.

  66. Pamela says:

    Have to share: My son is 5 (almost 6). But he also suffers from appreciation deficiency 90% of the time. He loves Star Wars Legos and I bought him some PJs of them and placed them in a recycled cereal box before wrapping. It’s a cereal he doesn’t like. I knew he takes everything literally and suspected he might believe I gave him the cereal for Christmas. Sure enough his face was stunned when he saw it (and my goofy Husband actually kidded and exclaimed “Cereal!”). But my son was silent and had a rather apathetic look like “oh well”. Then he set it to the side and said “That’s OK!” I actually begged him to go back and open the box! I got it all on tape and want to send it to Jimmy Kimmel to show not all kids throw fits!

  67. Very funny and cute!!! And what a sweet little guy…that proud Mommy moment surely made up for the embarrassment!

  68. Mary says:

    I plan to tell my little girl “Well, Santa’s only allowed to bring kids a few presents each, so if they’re VERY poor he has to bring them things they need to survive, like milk and bread and a coat.” And hope she doesn’t ask who made that rule.

    • Lacey says:

      He can only fit so many things in his sled, and he has to get to ALL the kids in one night. Logistically it makes sense! NOw I just hope she doesn’t ask you why you can’t help out ol’ Santa a little ๐Ÿ˜›

  69. Mary says:

    Oh you have a wonderful son… it hasn’t come up yet for me, since my daughter is only 3 months.

    On my fifth birthday I rehearsed being excited about presents… and then my aunt brought over two packages, one big and one small; the small package only contained some batteries to go in the big present. I opened the small one first and as rehearsed, I jumped up and down clapping and squealed “batteries!”. I wish someone had gotten it on tape.

  70. Lisa says:

    My children LOVE gum! This story reminds me of the time I had a serious talk with them about how it makes the “Gum Carrier” feel when the first thing they ask is, “Got’ny Gum?”Obviously…my daughter learned the lesson well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  71. Mary says:

    My daughter doesn’t know that most of her toys have a noise feature yet. We just don’t talk about that part. I wonder how much longer we can keep that up…

  72. Mari B. says:

    My almost 6.5 year old received an alphabet picture book from my in-laws and, upon opening it exclaimed, “What the heck?! Why did Nana and Papa send me an ABC book for Christmas? Don’t they know I can read already?! I’m in first grade!” My husband and I had to stifle our laughter (and agreement), when I asked her, “Now what would you say, if they were here when you opened it?”, to which she replied with a HUGE (fake) smile, “OH, an alphabet book. Just what I’ve ALWAYS wanted!!” LOL

  73. Liz says:

    You explain that Santa brings them things they need like shoes and food since their parents cannot afford them. And the children are happy to receive them.

  74. With mine I have discovered a little trick. It worked especially well with toys we were given like trucks that play country music, cars that have little neon lights under it and play (something you would expect to come out of a low rider), toddler ride-ons, etc (the speaker is underneath so little ones can’t see it). It also helps with the stuffed animals/dolls with the little speaker inside behind a zipper/velcro/etc.
    Putting a piece of tape (I use packing tape cause it is wider) over the speaker muffles the volume to a decibel less damaging to the hearing.

  75. I think you were in my house Christmas AM. Or maybe it’s just a 4 year old thing? We live in SoCal and the rest of the family is in WI, so we were videoing the gift opening to email to grandparents. So, here’s our 4 year old basically crying over the gifts that she had received because she “only wanted a Play Doh ice cream maker.” The Hubs then decided to give her a 10 MINUTE LECTURE about appreciation.

    I sat back with my hot buttered rum and just watched the Yule Log burn… on TV.

  76. Karen says:

    Hilarious!! Sounds like Crappy Boy isn’t that crappy, he listens to you and wants to share! My kids are too young to not like anything.. except many kinds of food. Right now, I’m in the process of teaching my 2 year old she can’t throw things on the floor if she doesn’t like them. Instead she rubs them in her hair or on her clothes so she doesn’t have to eat them. Her “manners” are telling Grandma, “I don’t like this” instead of doing what she does at home. I’m fearful of the day she doesn’t like presents – she’ll probably fling poo at the giver.

  77. Xallanthia says:

    I don’t have kids of my own yet, but I made a sweater for a friend’s 2yo, expecting it to be more of a present for her. Unbeknownst to me, he *loves* clothes, so he opened it up and got this huge grin! Then he held it up to his Mom and said, “Put on?” She posted more pics of him in it today and I’m so glad it fits! She says he knows “Aunty Xally give it me.”

  78. I hate to have to tell you this but it doesn’t always get better with age. I had my 12-year-old godson hand the DVD I’d carefully selected for him to his mother and say ‘I don’t want this’. She was mortified!!

    Anyway, he ended up sitting down watching the movie with his mum, absolutely LOVED it and wrote me a little apology card… Kids!!

  79. Caity says:

    That is GENIUS and I love it!

  80. Mummy-E-of-Oz says:

    My mum does that *EVERY YEAR*. My daughter (3 & 3/4) always ends up getting more and bigger presents from grandma then from everyone else combined! *sigh*

    But my gorgeous little lady gave us some heart warming moments this year. Amongst the “for christmas I want, I want, I want” was a “mummy, for christmas I just want one toy, zhu zhu pets, not lots of toys, if I have lots of toys then other boys and girls will miss out. I want them to have the lots of toys, I’ll just have one” *melts* Suffice to say she got more then one toy!

  81. Sara says:

    I must admit shame this year as I was the one to throw a hissy fit (internally!) about recieving an obviously last minute gift from my ex husband (made worse by knowing it was his mum that would have brought and wrapt it on christmas morning) when I had spent a lot of money on his (‘from the kids’) I know now not to do this again next year – but I was put to shame when watching my 2 and 4 yr olds open each present and explain to me how COOL each present was even the ones they havent even touched since opennig christmas morning ๐Ÿ™‚ I should take the lesson from them lol

  82. Ah, I totally teared up too! HOW SWEET! <3

  83. sarah says:

    Aww what a cute story. Bless him.

    This xmas my son received an air plane from cars movie, he was like “this is for babies” thankfully he opened that gift at home & has since decided he actually likes it and it’s really cool! After much persuasion and reminded of the “nice lie” rule when it comes to gifts. And also reminded that there are lots of kids in the world who don’t have any toys, I think he kind of felt bad after being reminded that (he’s just turned 6 btw)

    However, the nerff guns are a total PITA. Whoever invented those things has A LOT to answer for lol.

    Grandparents decided they would buy my 4 year old daughter a barbie alarm clock!!! Does anyone else see what’s wrong with this? Lol, kind of funny though..

  84. BethanyByrne says:

    When my 18 month old son got a box of clothes this Christmas, he threw all the clothes and tissue paper out, he just wanted the box to sit in!

  85. Jamie says:

    Definitely true, my seven-year-old son and two-year-old daughter absolutely LOVE clothes! My son is always asking to go shopping, and he doesn’t just want to buy new clothes, he wants to spend hours trying everything in the boys department on, LOL.

  86. Ellie says:

    Yup. He’s five. The first response is entirely normal and natural. The altruistic happy ending, however, clearly shows that he’s unusually sensitive and thoughtful. What a lovely boy he is!

  87. Cheryl S. says:

    My daugher is 6 & 1/2 (she’ll get upset if you forget the half) Anyway, she has the pretending she likes something DOWN. She even waits until the people leave to ask if we can take things back to the store. But, like crappy boy, she really does have a good heart. She wanted to buy something for EVERYBODY when they had the santa shop at her school and when she doesn’t want something anymore, she’ll tell me to donate it so other kids can play with it.

    And, you know what? I’m 40 and when I open a gift I don’t like I say “thank you” while in my head I’m already planning the exchange, so I can’t blame my kiddo for doing the same!

  88. Jamye says:

    Awww I love the ending to this!! Just wanna hug him! haha

  89. Omar Hafeez says:

    Great Yet simple………………….

  90. Jessica says:

    That is hilarious!

  91. Amazing! It turns out kids might not be soulless after all. Something for me to think about…

  92. DMT says:

    I don’t have children, yet, but my nephew did his own version of this reaction when my husband and I gave him books for Christmas:


  93. sarah j says:

    actually made me cry. blub

  94. Mercy says:

    Yes, noisy toys are stressful. I made sure to not get my kids any this year and my ears are thankful.

  95. Breenah says:

    We haven’t put batteries in the toys that don’t have off switches. I hope we can keep it up.

  96. Lara says:

    I really love the ending! My nephew threw our gift down and then pouted and said he hated puzzles. His mother specifically told us to get him puzzles because he is a very analytical boy. Yeah, he’s four. My boys want cars and trains, but her boy wants books and puzzles. He proved his mom wrong!

  97. Beautiful ending to a funny story (again).

  98. Carol Gardens says:

    Love it! My sister sends clothes in a separate box so as not to interfere with the joy of unwrapping toys!

  99. Erica Storm says:

    Ha poor Azriel! I had that bed! What great memories…

  100. Carol Gardens says:


  101. Carol Gardens says:

    What a wonderful game!

  102. Carol Gardens says:

    do not feel bad..I have seen men in the stores ,begging the sales assistants for help choosing a gift for their wives….and neck-firming cream(probably$90 worth) is exactly what they buy and bring home , thinking it is going to be the best gift ever! ha ha .I started teaching my children when they were very young what I really liked…and one Christmas, my 12 year-old gave me a felt ornament he had made, that had the word QUIET and the symbol for PEACE on it..my favorite gift of all time..I hang it by the kithen sink all during December!

  103. melissa says:

    But..But..sing-a-majigs are awesome! I bought them for my daughters and neice last year…but I think I love them more than they do. They harmonize!

  104. Cris says:

    Two stories – My dad plays Santa, so when my 4 yo nephew goes to tell Santa what he wants he makes it perfectly clear that he wants “TOYS! Not underwear because underwear is not toys!” Santa had a hard time keeping a straight face. I kinda wanted to get him underwear just for the reaction! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Then from when I was little – my family recycles boxes. We saved them in a closet all year and then wrap presents in them. We all knew that looking inside the box is what tells you what the present is – but my cousin didn’t know this and Christmas eve we exchanged presents and clearly, he had been prompted to be polite, because his sad little face looked up and half-smiled and thanked me for the soup bowls.

  105. beatty.jen@gmail.com says:

    yup, same happened to us with our 5 and 3 year olds and their great aunt. thrown aside and said “this is stupid.” i explained that it’s important when someone gives you something to be polite, have good manners and say thank you. otherwise people wouldn’t want to bring you presents anymore. i’m hoping the prospect of some better future present will be motivating for at least a “thank you.”

  106. k says:

    I want to cry from that ending

  107. Sannah says:

    Beautiful story – gorgeous ending. So wonderful when they surprise you ๐Ÿ™‚

  108. I have two boys, 6 & 15 months (part of the reason I love this blog SOOO much).
    Over the holidays we had my husband’s cousins come over and we exchanged gifts with the kids. Everyone opened gift bags and boxes to reveal toys and then I watched as she pulled an envelope from her purse and her arm extended towards my 6 year old.
    I knew this wouldn’t…couldn’t end well.
    My son looked confused at first and then opened it to see a Disney gift card…
    The confused face morphed into several different unique expressions which all pretty much said “WTF should I do with this piece of plastic lady??!!” and then ultimately led to the tears and “NOT FAIR”.
    The cousin said she felt bad the whole way home and ended up buying him a Lego set and giving it the very next weekend.
    Note: 6 year olds don’t care as long as they get a toy…not clothes, cash, or gift cards. Preferably a loud obnoxious drive-mom-nuts toy or one with a million pieces.

  109. bess says:

    My daughter who is 3 told us for weeks she wanted a chia pet from santa, So Xmas morning she grabbed her 1st present from the big guy ripped it open and saw a pretty new dress. In tears she says… Where is my chia pet! I could not stop laughing haha… The 2nd gift was her cherished chia

  110. robyn says:

    I love the sing-a-majigs as well, and the are pretty quiet on the “loud toy” scale. Personally, if I ever meet the lady who does the voice for Fisher Price baby and toddler toys, I will kill her like a ninja.

  111. DeAnn says:

    Um, how is it possible that you received Toy Story when you were only 11? That makes me feel really old!!!!!

  112. Kim says:

    Very doubtful grammar for most english-speaking countries. Totally ok for cute kids though!

  113. Tara says:

    LOL! I do this, too. Some of those crazy things take two or three layers of tape, though.

  114. Daffodil says:

    At age five, my niece was really into the Wizard of Oz, so for Christmas I got her a Dorothy outfit: the dress, the ruby slippers, a toy Toto, and the basket. She didnโ€™t seem as thrilled as I expected, and she wandered off to sulk quietly in her room for awhile. I finally got her to tell me that she was upset because Dorothyโ€™s basket is square, not round like the one Iโ€™d given her.

  115. heather says:

    when i was little i cried when my aunt gave me a barbie for christmas…i didn’t play with dolls.
    i managed to do alright this year, of course DD likes her brother’s toys better and he likes hers

  116. elin says:

    When in doubt, stuff a little money in with the gift. At least they will like some of the present (if they are over 7 anyways)!

  117. mrsculpepper says:

    we did that on all the phones at work. works great there too ๐Ÿ™‚

  118. Avital says:

    Yes! This happened to us too on Chanukah. My sister-in-law got all my kids these great little puzzles. They were all wrapped nicely and my girls opened theirs and were so happy. My biggest boy (age 5) opened his and said “I don’t like this.” He was honest but it was too late…I think she was shocked (her baby is only 1, pre-honesty phase) Needless to say we’ve started practicing the art of “Wow! I love it! Thanks!” in time for next Chanukah.

  119. Avital says:

    btw- I’m very new to this blog and I love it!!! Thanks for being so out there and in tune with what we are all going through as moms!

  120. Betsi says:

    Hm. I say she’s completely in the right for voicing her feelings. No adult should scream at a small child. Teaching her to put up proper boundaries is far more important than social niceties!
    (I know, I’m passionate about this. My parents raised us to be very polite and always respect your elders and consequently, we were molested by an uncle. Listen to your kids, moms! Don’t shut them down in favor of “being polite”!)

  121. Ceri Howell says:

    Um, because when it came out she was a bit older than Andy. Don’t you know that Andy is in college now? They previewed Toy Story 3 in colleges because those college kids were the target age when it first came out. And yes hearing that makes me feel old too!

  122. Ceri Howell says:

    put tape over the speakers…. or pretend that your all out of batteries. ๐Ÿ™‚

  123. Kristen says:

    My mom in law actually bought one of those for my 7 yr old from Cozumel. Really?!? It was “someone who loves me very much..”. I’m embarrassed for him!

  124. Rachel says:

    When my son was 5 we started opening Christmas presents at home after opening one present he stated very loudly “I HATE THIS PRESENT” The hubby and I were appalled and started talking to him about being thankful for what you get. In the car on the way to granny’s house we had a conversation that ended with..”DO NOT tell anyone you Hate their gift!!!” So we get to granny’s and begin opening gifts. He started to open the gift from my sis-in-law. After opening it and looking at it for a minute he loudly proclaimed ” I DO NOT LOVE THIS!!” All we could do was laugh.


  125. Laura says:

    What a wonderful story. I love your blog so much!

  126. JosieRae says:

    my Mom would call those “bath toys”. I still remember trying to warm my brothers the toy would die in the water. They would just smile and say. “Mom said it was okay.” I can also remember the look of glee as the toy slowly goggled to death in the water.

  127. JosieRae says:

    The look of glee on my mother’s face. Not my brothers.

  128. Lidia says:

    My kids’ birthdays are two years and one day apart, so we always celebrate them together. Last year my mom gave my oldest a Yo Gabba Gabba guitar and my youngest a Sesame Street racing wheel that makes racing noises. We don’t watch Sesame Street, and the toy was intended for younger kids, so my youngest just sat quietly glaring, giving his brother the stink eye, as he happily played his guitar. It was very subtle, but my mom noticed. In the end the guitar has been bequeathed to my youngest and all it right with the world.

  129. Lidia says:

    Oops, “is” right with the world.

  130. Julie says:

    I’m also trying to teach my 5 year old about being gracious and thankful. She opened up one present at home with us on Chrismas Eve, looked at it and said, “that’s now what I want.” It was the game Perfection and once I showed her how it worked she changed her mind and decided that she liked it. She was kind of in an off mood all day on Christmas though so I had to remind her several times to say thank you for everything. All clothing, once she got a glimpse of it, was immediately discarded for the next gift.

    On a different note, I’m also trying to teach her that if you don’t have anything nice to say that you shouldn’t say anything at all. Last week when I was flat ironing my hair I had the top layers clipped up so I could do the bottom layers first and she saw me and proceeded to tell me that my hair looked ugly. I explained that I was fixing my hair and I wasn’t done with it yet and if she didn’t like it that she should keep her comments to herself. A few days later she saw me when I was doing my hair again and again she told me that it looked ugly. This time I got down to her level and went into more detail about why it’s not polite to tell somebody something like that and that it could hurt somebody’s feelings and how she wouldn’t like it if someone said something like that to her. I went back to working on my hair for a few minutes and then went to check on her one more time and, although I still wasn’t done with my hair and part of it was still clipped up, she looked at me and said, “Mommy, your hair looks beautiful!” Mission accomplished – at least for the time being.

    It’s so touching that your son wanted to give his Christmas money to kids who don’t have any toys.

  131. JCCyC says:

    Clothes on friggin’ Christmas for a 4yo??? If you ask me, he reacted with admirable restraint.

  132. cupritte says:

    I’m so stealing this idea. I’ve got a 6 month old, and as I have trouble not indicating that I have no idea what some gifts are so I could use the practice too.

    I tried to not have a bridal or baby shower in part because I have trouble controlling the expression on my face with a surprise.
    Crappy boy seems to be doing great with his manners by comparison!

  133. Jenna says:

    tehe yes and yes

  134. Jenna says:

    your mum is awesome!

  135. Barbara P says:

    This is so far down in the comments, but worth posting:


    It’s a song called “present face”, i.e. the face you make when you open a bad present.

  136. Jamie McMillan says:

    I’ve resorted to actually taking the speaker components out of the toys on a few occasions ๐Ÿ™‚

  137. Jamie McMillan says:

    What a wonderful idea…I will definitely be playing that game with my son ๐Ÿ™‚

  138. Carry up the superb function.

  139. Lissette says:

    that’s funny my daughter said the same thing … many ears ago when we were giving her cousin clothes for her birthday.

  140. Lissette says:

    oops years ago…..

  141. Kate Rose says:

    My 3yo opened a huge gift this Christmas; he thought it was Star Wars Legos, but it was a rope swing. Which he’s never seen before so he thought he got a rope. His little face just dropped, he looked crushed and said “Thank you…” like “You have ruined my day!” and then buried his head in my lap. He’ll love it once it’s hung from a tree. ๐Ÿ™‚

  142. Kate Rose says:

    Oh, and my 10yo stepson opened a book I gave him and said, “Is this a joke?!” Nice. ๐Ÿ™

  143. Sam says:

    My children’s now-dead (thank God, she was not a very nice person) grandmother always gave my kids broken garage-sale “gifts” “wrapped” in paper bags. When paper bags were too hard to find, she tied them up in plastic bags. Her other grandchildren received similarly wrapped “gifts” but their gifts were from nice stores and were usually pretty decent.

    Once my kids were able to talk, and not just walk away from broken crappy things, we threw everything away as soon as possible. When we were traveling, it was the first Dumpster we found, and when we lived across the street from her house, it was buried in the trash can.

    I prepped the kids for gift-giving times. “Say thank you. No matter what it is, no matter if it is broken, ugly, or doesn’t fit, say thank you.” Over and over and over I repeated the lesson. She, while she never liked my kids, could never complain that they were not polite.

  144. Grace says:

    My daughter said once “yes, I wanted another train!”

  145. Awww… that was totally sweet. I’ve really tried to teach the “gift appreciation” thing as well. And yes… people with gift receipts that don’t care if you exchange it for something they’ll actually play with ROCK!

  146. Larry's Girl says:

    Correct would be: “Clothing is not a present” or “Clothes are not a present” … but who cares! It’s funny anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

  147. Petra says:

    Thank you, that is the best thing I have read to try with my boy. He’s 11 and got ASD and honesty issues. He’s got no problems lying through his teeth to me about something, but have someone oversize or different colour walk past us, I have to take his hands and tell to not talk at all until we are out of hearing! Even though they might be a bit too old to enjoy it for long, it will be a good educational exercise and fun on top. They just love being silly.! ๐Ÿ˜€

  148. Alisha Evans says:

    First off, your blog is greatness! My story: We were having a large birthday party and I decided to prep my oldest for the gift opening. We drilled. “Son, if you open a gift and there’s a rock inside… what do you say?” “Thank You”. We did this over and over with all types of items, including a can of beans. At the party, he opened a gift from my Mom… a can of beans (as a joke of course). I was so proud. He looked at her, smiled and said, “Thank you.” Successful training! Every year since, she gives him a can of beans.

  149. Livvyrat says:

    My stepmom taught my sister (who is 10 years younger than me, so I didn’t “learn” this) that Santa brings one gift per child and the rest of the presents under the tree are from the family. Might be a bit late for you to start with, but that would help explain why Santa can bring a gift but the kids still don’t get much if the parents are poor.

  150. Livvyrat says:

    Oh, and Santa fills the stocking too. Forgot to add that.

  151. Barb T. says:

    OMG robyn, I say the same thing! That Fisher Price voice is TERRIBLE and it’s not just on one toy, it’s ALL of them! I seriously laughed out loud when I read your comment.

  152. I sometimes wonder why we have to be so nice when someone gives us a horrible or downright crappy gift. I’ll say thank you, of course to be polite, but generally, if someone gets me something horrible that I will never use, I’m not going to gush over it like it’s amazing. Basically, bad presents go in the regift box, unopened and just like new. When I find someone who it really looks like they would like it, on it goes!

    Of course, remember what it was like before we had any money of our own and we were basically left to the whims of our parents and other adult people to get the few things that we got to own for ourselves. I remember that once I learned that I could get a job and pay for stuff with my own money (via watching pets for people on vacation or helping out at music camps and stuff at the age of 10/11), I was THRILLED- finally I could choose what I wanted with my own money. Of course, not having all that much money, this is where I began a love affair with thrift stores. Honestly, I feel sympathy for children- if their parents or family members don’t buy them everything and spoil them rotton, there are really only a few times of year where they have any possibility to get anything that they might actually want. In a world where it seems like so many people are materialistically driven, it makes me sad to think that a lot of parents will buy all the toys for themselves that THEY want and then buy their kid some crap from the dollar store and expect them to make due.

    Honestly, I think a gift ought to reflect how close you are to the person and your knowledge of their tastes. I would much rather not receive any gifts than receive something that someone just threw together.

    Which reminds me, I’m somewhat annoyed at the moms and dads who force their children to not get any birthday presents and instead make them choose a charity for their friends to donate to. That’s just unfair to the kid UNLESS the kid comes up with the idea on his or her own.

  153. Carol Scheafer says:

    My husbands family makes a very big deal about Christmas. Once a year we all get together and go from youngest to oldest opening gifts. Our kids get presents from relatives that we see once a year, who can barely remember their names, let alone how old they are. So that means they got gifts meant for a two year old when they were four. This was never an issue with our oldest. She always has gladly accepted any gift with a smile and a thank you. Our son, however, ALWAYS speaks his mind. When he was five we had a long conversation about how he should say thank you with a smile no matter what. We were so determined that it was going to be different (and less embarrassing) that year. When we got to his turn to open presents, we weren’t concerned at all…until he stood to address the crowd before starting. He proudly let them all know that they didn’t have to worry because he was going to say thank you even though he doesn’t like what they got him. Oy vey!

  154. Henniganhq@hotmail.com says:

    Yep. For my daughter’s 8th birthday, my mother sent a pair of hand me down (boy) swim shorts, size 10. Thought she could use them. And then there was the pair of golfing shorts that had little pink golfers all over them, size women’s small. Again, she does not golf and they were a women’s, so naturally they do not fit my 8 year old.

    It was all well and good and I managed to cover for grandma saying that she did not want those things to go in the trash and she did not know anyone else who could use them….until she came to visit a few months later. “Grandma, those clothes you sent me did not fit so we gave them to my cousin.”. And then the crickets of awkwardness chimed in throughout the land…

  155. KCMomma says:

    Just found your blog and going through older posts. This one made my heart so happy I actually teared up.

  156. Pamela says:

    I love your blog!! This post made me literally gasp and tear up at the end … congratulations on doing a fantastic job with your little one! What an amazing moment to treasure.

  157. Karen says:

    I remember my mom once nearly taking my head off for not saying thank you (I don’t remember what I said but it wasn’t thank you), and then a few years later, praising me simply for being appreciative when I received a 6 year old’s gift at the age of 10.