Annoying Christmas Presents? I’m All For Them!

Leave a comment below and you’ll be eligible to win a DVD copy of either The Lion King or Dumbo (please state your preference).

I love giving presents better than receiving them.


There’s a certain delight that comes when I find the perfect gift and I realize, “I’ve nailed it.” Maybe it’s something you’d never get for yourself or didn’t know you desperately needed.  Maybe it’s something that’s purely fun and so whimsical it makes everyone laugh.  Maybe it’s a sentimental photograph capturing that special something in someone’s face, framed just right.  Perhaps it’s absolutely decadent and delicious or it’s that impossible find. Or maybe it’s even the noisy and trendy gift that everyone wants.

All year long I photograph events in our lives, knowing that the perfect photograph can be turned into a beautiful keepsake.  I will scour lists of “hot toys” of the year for all age groups.  I’ll even try and keep up with fashion by perusing Gilt Groupe and Vogue magazine (a large stretch for this yoga pants wearing mom) to be in sync with the fashion sense of my teenage girls.   And as much as I don’t understand the draw of video games, I’ll try and be savvy about the latest shoot’em up or sports games for my boys.  It’s tough work to be in touch with changing preferences, but my quest for best Christmas spirit and favorite Aunt status energizes me.

Years ago at Christmas when the Wiggles were popular (do you remember them – grown men in bright shirts that sang songs about yummy fruit salad for the preschool set?), we got our two year old son William an electronic Wiggles guitar. I’ll never forget his reaction — he tore open the gift wrap, whooped for joy, and started running back and forth the length of the room. Later on, that guitar would turn on spontaneously in his toy box, sometimes in the middle of the night.  This meant that I’d wake up hearing a noise and think someone had broken in, only to realize that – nope – it’s just the Wiggles.

Therefore, it was funny when I saw the headline of a recent Wall Street Journal that said, “The Toys That Will Drive Parents Nuts” with a photo of the exact toys I had just bought my nieces for Christmas (Let’s Rock Elmo and a purple Fijit).  I had an “uh-oh” moment, but it was just a moment.  Why?  Because I realized it’s not the parents that matter most on Christmas Day.  I mean, who cares about the parents when there are adorable little ones around?  The 25th day of December is about Jesus’ birth on a miraculous winter’s night.  It’s all about hope, enchantment and joy.  This magical day cries out for amazing celebratory gifts for everyone.  The wise men undoubtedly understood this!

When I read that article, I thought back to the Wiggles guitar and laughed.  The slight irritation was still worth the joy.  I adore being the giver of these special gifts and will work tirelessly in pursuit of the next “whooping and running” moment.

So, if I hear any complaints from adult family members about beeping, snoring or otherwise annoying toys, I may just take my gift-giving fervor to the next level and wrap up that cute furry four-legged creature your kids have been clamoring about.

  • Susan @

    I appreciate this post, and especially this line: “The 25th day of December is about Jesus’ birth on a miraculous winter’s night. It’s all about hope, enchantment and joy. This magical day cries out for amazing celebratory gifts for everyone.” (I just posted about Santa and how, from a Christian standpoint, we can embrace and enact his myth exactly because of the “enchantment” spirit that fits with Jesus’ birthday.)
    Those of us who lack the gift of apt gift-giving – and it is a gift – can take away joy from the likes of folks like you, and it can look almost “holy,” in the name of cutting back on materialism, but in reality it can be grinchy. Why should your joy, and those of your recipients, be inhibited because of overly practical and less-invested gift givers like me?
    Thanks for the post.

  • Jean Yih Kingston

    Thanks for the response Susan! I appreciate it and hope you and yours have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

  • Helen

    Uh oh. I’m the mother of one your nieces who has a hankering for a cute yellow lab puppy just like the ones in your post…don’t get any ideas, Auntie Jean! Love your posts!

  • Jean

    Ha! I was wondering if you’d notice what kind of puppies I chose for the photo. Don’t worry – I wouldn’t do that to you as much as I’d love to see the look on their faces. The “I’m gonna kill you” look I imagine you might shoot at me definitely is deterrent. :)

    And – of course you deserve their looks of pure joy and delight when you make that “puppy” decision… but, it’ll be soon, right???

  • Laura Maxwell

    Oh the joy of giving lest we often forget! Lately it seems like the only giving is a great bit headache during the holiday season. The commercialism opportunists have taken over the real meaning and joy. I love your article because it reminds me to find joy where I sometimes forget. Those precious toys albeit commercialized are the ones that make us giggle and remember that the headaches were worth it when seeing the joy and delight on the face of the reciever. I’ll never forget my daughter wanted a doll that talked and acted like a true baby. It would cry in the middle of the night and ask to be fed, have her diaper changed, etc. After Christmas morning we found her in the closet. We had to take her back she was just a little too demanding. Oh, how we laughed over that!!!!! The Chia Pet was always a room favorite!!! Here’s to the headaches being worth the delight! May you have many this Holday season!

  • Holly C

    Loved your article and can so relate to parts of it. I remember buying a Muppet Drumset for my nephew when he was little. It was SO cool had a nice graphic of Animal on the front. He LOVED it, the rest of the family not so much!

  • Ashley

    We have a deal with all of the Aunts and Uncles…what you give, you will soon get in return. If you give an annoying gift, it will soon turn into a competition to see what kind of more annoying gift we can get for your child. ha! So far, our family member haven’t crossed the annoying gift line. We may have scared them. ha!!
    (movie preference: Dumbo)

  • Beth

    Great reminder that lavish gifts ARE part of keeping Christ in Christmas!

  • Carrie Wood

    Hilarious post. As the mother of 4 kiddos, 4 years and under, we have a house full of annoying toys. Probably the worst ever were some dollar store plastic flutes. No music could be produced on them, but plenty of noise. But we got out the bongo drums and make a big noisy awful band and the kids had a ball! That’s what counts. We would love a copy of Dumbo. My daughter loves elephants!

  • kimberlee

    We’ve been pretty fortunate to have never had any toys from that list in our house. I don’t know how we got so lucky! But my brother and I try to get each other’s kids the loudest most annoying toy we can find. The toys usually last 24 hours before they are hidden for good. So we are actually thinking of the parents more than the kids when we get those gifts…
    Have a merry Christmas!

  • Cassandra

    Toys that make too much noise and do not turn off usually go to the misfits toy section and toys that are cool that turn off and not turn back on by itself usually stay put.

  • jason

    You cant run from the toys cassandra