The Art Of What Not To Gift

by slurrp

By Dragon Mommy

What not to give as presents on birthdays. Sounds rude because isn’t it the thought that matters? Right?


Every birthday I cringe at some of the gifts my kids are given. Well, if the thought mattered…then people should have thought it through! 

Here is my list of the Top 10 “what not to give” that makes me want to strike your child’s name off the party invitee list for the coming year – 


1. Incorrectly sized clothes.

I get that you don’t want to take a chance with getting the sizing wrong and yes, my kids are big-built but gifting clothes for 4-year-old kids on their 1st birthday is no fun to get.

Worse still is getting them clothes for 4-year olds when they turn 5… and given that they are big built is definitely pathetic.

Received both so, know.


Urgh Factor = 7.5/10


2. Recycled gifts.

Ah. Don’t we all get gifts we don’t like, need, have?



But please remember two things when you recycle. One, do not give the same gift back to the person who gifted it to you in the first place and two, that is given back to the age-appropriate person.

Why else would anyone gift 5-year-old big built child clothes meant for a 4-year-old?



Urgh Factor = 8.8/10


3. Debatable gifts.

Yes, they are boys. But that doesn’t mean I approve of their playing with toy guns.

Stop giving them toy guns! And other things that could go against people’s beliefs. Or rather my beliefs of how to raise my kids.


Urgh Factor = 9/10


4. Gender-specific gifts.

    Boys, hence cars. Girls, hence dolls.

    Really? Now! We should know by now that boys and girls are more than cars and dolls. I know a few girls who love playing with cars. And though my sons love their cars, we have over a 100, thank you.

    Try and know what the child is interested in and choose accordingly, please.


    Urgh Factor = 6/10


    5. Dangerous gifts.

    Yes, as a parent who has been shot at I can totally vouch that the bullets from the Nerf guns hurt! Darts are even worse!

    And to the person who gifted the rock painting set with 4 smooth, heavy rocks… I hate you!


    Urgh Factor = 9.5/10

    The Art of What Not To Gift 02

    6. Messy gifts.

      You like my kids. Wonderful!

      You believe that kids are meant to be left to free play. Brilliant!

      You think that digging up dirt, jumping in puddles and rolling in the muck is good for them. No! Absolutely not! Do all that with your own kids!

      Please be thoughtful of the parents whose child you give messy gifts to.

      Moulding clay…messy.

      Finger painting, nail painting, bag painting, rock painting, glass painting… messier.

      Magnetic sand…messiest.


      Urgh Factor = 9.7/10


      7. Battery operated gifts.

        Gifting something that needs batteries? Lovely.

        Kindly include the batteries with the gift.

        It is bad enough to have to prepare for birthday parties for days at end, endure hours of screaming children running all over on a special day and end up with a huge amount of cleaning and tidying to do … in addition we have to deal with a child whining for batteries for his newly received remote-controlled car or robot or drone or whatever else.

        Oh, and please make sure the batteries don’t cost more than the gift – been there too.

        And no, despite being a household with kids, I never keep spare batteries. Just not the perfect mom, I guess.




        Urgh Factor = 10/10


        8. Gifts that need fixing.

          Again, party over…presents opened… whining starts! Please fix this. Please fix this. Please fix this now, now now.

          It’s their special day, I agree. But I am tired too.

          To sit on the floor, read pages of the instruction manual that for some reason always are written in microscopic print and try and fix things is not really how I want the day to end.

          Isn’t it enough that I gave them life?

          And mind you, most times I don’t have the screwdrivers or spanner needed either. Using a knife, a fork or my nail file doesn’t always work!


          Urgh Factor = 8/10


          9. Gifts that have tiny parts. And a zillion of them.

            They choose to buy those on their own. Your contribution to adding to the mess in my house is not welcome.

            Lose one part and the zillion-minus-one toy becomes redundant.


            Urgh Factor = 7/10


            10. Age-appropriate gifts.

              I am honored that you think my kids are super-smart. I do.

              But gifting them games and puzzles meant for 12-year-olds when they are 6 only makes them prove to me and themselves they aren’t!

              Then the whining starts, you do it…you do it…now, now, now.

              And then I end up proving to myself and them, I am not smart either so no, let’s go back to gender-specific gifts. That one scored the least in the Urgh Scale.


              Urgh Factor = 10/10

              The Art of What Not To Gift 03


              And, of course, say no to plastic, please! 


              About Dragon Mommy: She is an IIM alumna who left the corporate world after 15 long years to raise her twin sons in a small town because she wanted to enjoy the simple pleasures of motherhood. Besides she didn’t really have a very successful career in the city. She is single by choice. Not hers. She used to be fun. Now she writes about parenting. 

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