It’ll be Christmas in oooh, about 98 days, which means you’ll soon be introducing oceans of shiny plastic crap into your house. But before Santa starts building them in the Argos toyshop and your sanity is ruined forever, here are a few presents that will NOT be on our Christmas list…
London Bridge is falling down. The wheels on the bus go round and round. Polly put the kettle on. Some obscure ditty that sounds like the national anthem of Swaziland. Musical toys are Satan’s envoys on earth. There’s no off switch, the volume is eardrum-piercing, and they always start playing spontaneously in the middle of the night like some haunted Chucky doll. If you want your kid to be musical, buy a second hand piano off Gumtree instead. (At least you can lock the lid).
Remember Kerplunk? Maybe you have fond memories of the advert or of happy days spent knocking all the balls into the tray. But have you tried to construct the new version of Kerplunk without crying and kicking it out of the window? It takes so long that by the time you’ve slotted in all the sticks, your kids have lost interest and it’s midnight and you’ve grown a beard.
There are two things that happen when I look at Where’s Wally books. First I feel like I should phone its author, Martin Handford, and ask whether he’s OK in the head. I mean, the drawings are amazing, but can you imagine spending your life hiding all those Wallys and Wendas and Woofs amongst all those soldiers and vampires and people dressed as pies? Secondly, after a few minutes of looking at it I would like to throw Where’s Wally in the canal wrapped in a lump of concrete and make sure that stripey-hatted pillock is never found again.
The toys on the front of magazines
OK, so it’s not exactly a Christmas present, but these things score pretty high on the Parental Irritation scale. Yes, I feel sorry for poor people in China who are busy making Simpsons hand grabbers and Octonaut emblazoned inflatable bath toys– but free gift magazine toys really are stinkers. They’re more fragile and prone to falling apart than Mariah Carey with a hangover. And just when you think you’ve chucked them, they start turning up in weird places. I once found some bouncy balls with Matt Smith’s face on them in my knicker drawer (which isn’t nearly as much fun as it sounds).
Practical Joke kits
HA HA! Joke kits are fun! Haha, just think of all the laffs you’ll have. For like, 0.2 minutes. The rest of the time, you’ll be getting your fingers snapped off in hilarious fake packs of chewing gum, pretending to be really shocked when your kid comes in with a nail through their finger, and fishing that plastic dog turd out of your soup for the fiftieth time. HA. HA. HAAAAAAARGH.
I don’t know about you, but the new version of Operation makes me angry. Instead of the mysterious ‘Water on the Knee’, ‘Writer’s Cramp’ and ‘Bread Basket’, there are all these stupid modern things like Playstation Elbow and Mobile Phone Ear. And the spaces are so massive that a polar bear wearing oven gloves could manage to win.
I will NEVER forgive my friend for buying the Doggie Doo for my son. Basically, this nasty plastic sausage dog craps neon pellets of play doh that stain the carpet and stick to everything. You feed it a piece of goop, pump the pumper and it comes out of its bum. It worked once, then got clogged up, meaning that I spent the best part of Christmas morning shoving a chopstick up a plastic Daschund’s arse.
Unless your child has perfect pitch and a record contract lined up with Syco, a toy microphone is the best way to destroy your relationship with your neighbours, friends, and the local community police. You can’t even get a bit tipsy with your friends and have a go- unless you want to spend your precious free time singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ into something that resembles a pink plastic dildo.
Farmyard board books
Reading a book is a lovely, relaxing and educational way to end a busy day with your child. Unless it’s one of those evil books that has buttons on the side with various earth-shattering animal noises on them. The problem with ‘noisy’ board books is not just that they’re noisy, but that they have a hard-to-find battery that nobody can ever be bothered to replace and soon every single button sounds like a ghost cow falling off a window ledge in slow motion.
There has never been a game involving Super Soakers water pistols that hasn’t ended up looking like a disturbing scene from The Hurt Locker. Avoid…
What are your only-for-people-you-hate toys?