Okay, I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, so I’m complicit in corporate America’s plot to get Americans buying all the things, all the time, but it came up in my feed, and I’m not going to remember this in three weeks, so you’re getting it now! You’re welcome.
The initial inspiration was this toy, apparently the “It” toy of 2017… drumroll please… a tiger!
This is one in a long, proud tradition of toys that kids want so desperately, thinking this, finally, is the perfect toy, the toy that will be your friend, that your friends will marvel over, that you’ll never tire of. There’s a box in my parent’s house full of tamagotchis and furbys, and even an old Chatty Cathy, which was totally the It doll of my mom’s childhood.
All I’m saying is that your little ingrate is going to play with this tiger for two days, and then ignore it forever. You might as well just burn $100 while your offspring laughs maniacally.
So there I was, wondering how many millions of these tigers are going to be sold, and wondering if there was any way to get a REAL tiger as a birthday present, and how exactly one gift-wraps a tiger, and what our regular cats would think of that, when I came upon this wonder:
It’s a stationary bike for kids! Let me repeat that: it’s a stationary bike. For children. Please tell me the next product is going to be a miniature Nordic Track with a simulated cross country skiing program.
Okay, so at this point I obviously needed to know what else Amazon thinks I should buy. Luckily, they’ve put together a handy list of the best toys by age group. How thoughtful! And while there are plenty of perfectly respectable ideas, like Legos and dressups, I couldn’t help but notice the gifts that maybe they might have reconsidered.
Think about it! What better way to introduce a growing brain to cool subcultures and growing trends! Before you know it, little Semaphore is going to be running her very own pop up Nepalese-Peruvian fusion food truck called Cogs + Gears, while wearing a fantastical top hat.
Or, perhaps you’re raising a sophisticate, one with impeccable taste, so you can humble-brag about how little Gershwin just will not let you stop playing La Traviata, but at least it’s better than when he went through his Carmen phase. So cliche!
I digress. Here are some presents that say, “Sure, I have a kid, but I’m not letting some little detail like having a developing human under my care get in the way of my cocktail parties.”
Of course, you could get a fun, colorful pretend kitchen, the one that your precious moppet would actually pick out, but this one matches your Scandi-Colonial aesthetic so much better. And yes, there is fun furniture for diminutive bodies that have characters, and colors, and look at least remotely comfortable, but it’s never too early to learn how to take proper care of leather.
Which brings me to everyone’s most dreaded category of Christmas presents: practical gifts.
You probably need a step stool in the bathroom, and yeah, it’ll probably get used 1,000 times more than a doll that looks alarmingly like a prostitute, but imagine seeing that enormous box under the tree, daydreaming about what magic it might contain for days, or even weeks, building your expectations… but it’s a stool. I’m pretty sure I would have cried.
Same thing goes for this bookshelf, only I bet the box would be even bigger, so the imaginary gift would be even bigger, and the crushing blow of reality would hurt all the more as you unwrapped your very own beige bookshelf. Book sling? Book hammock? It’s not even a proper bookshelf!
Obviously, this entire business of gift-giving is a minefield, and I’m going to steer clear of the whole thing. This year, my preschooler is getting nothing but white sports socks and shelf-stable canned goods.