"If you buy my child one of these 6 things this Christmas, we can no longer be friends."


To my adored friends and family,

We need to talk.

I love that you love my kids. My kids love that you love my kids.

I love that come Christmas, their piles under the tree are teetering towers of enormousness, and not even half of it cost me a cent. Or, more importantly, several hours of rummaging around on the lower shelves of the racks at Toys R Us while people step on my head.

Holly and her family preparing for the Christmas period.

I love that you thought about them long enough to consider them when you were Christmas shopping. I love that you remembered that Matilda is still in her pink phase and that Billy genuinely thinks he’s a dinosaur.

I love that about you. Seriously.

But here’s the thing. And I know I sound like an ungrateful arse. I may well be an ungrateful arse, and a bad mother, for what I am about to say. But someone needs to say it, so here goes.

Not all presents are good presents.

You see, anything you buy for my children will live in my house and impact my life. And call me selfish, call me Grinchy, but to be honest, things are pretty fraught around here at the best of times, and throw in a blaring plastic fire engine with no volume control and life could really take a turn.

So here, so we can all still be friends, are the six things that you should please refrain from buying my kids this Christmas. Believe me, I’m doing us all a favour.


1. Drums. 

I know, you’re scoffing. Like, who would DO THAT, really? But one of my most lovely and wonderful friends did exactly this last year. She ‘did it to’ one of our other friends – bought her daughter an adorable Dora The Explorer drum kit. Our mutual friend appeared to be delighted, and the four-year-old girl who received them was certainly beside herself, but seriously? If you pulled that in my house I would have been tempted to stage a minor house-fire to disappear them.

While we’re at it, let’s throw in recorders, whistles, those automated keyboards that are ALWAYS too loud. Basically, anything that requires musical talent to make it even just a little bit audibly bearable. Let’s just leave that alone until there IS some actual talent in the house.

2. Loom bands. 

They’re over. And I’ve never been happier. Because my kids are too little for them, but think that they’re not. So when my daughter says “Let’s Play Loombands”, what she means is, “Sit next to me, Mummy, while I hand you teeny plastic bands one at a time, until you lose the circulation in your fingers.”

I don’t want any presents that require my full involvement, thank you. Again, I’m a bad mother, but I have Things To Do. Things that don’t involve retrieving 43545043 luminious plastic loops from every crevice of the couch.

3. Lego.


It’s great. It builds both their practical and artistic sides, and encourages fine motor-skills and keeps them busy for hours.

BUT sooooooo many pieces to get lost and scattered to every corner of my home.

And also, just this: Ouch.

4. Licensed character clothing. 

No. Just no.

You know, that Dora The Explorer T-shirt that’s scratch n’ sniff and glow in the dark and spouts lines from the show. No, just no.

Because my daughter will LOVE it. and she will want to wear it every single day, and it looks nasty and it washes badly and it really isn’t her colour. And I’m the one who has to look at her all the time, after all.

There are two exceptions to this rule: Frozen. Knock yourself out. That merch is so hard to find that I don’t care how ugly it is, I’m going to bite your hand off taking it from you. And two, pyjamas. Who cares if my kids are tasteless in their sleep?

5. Oversized cuddly toys. 

Friends Who Don’t Have Children think that giant pandas and life-sized baby elephants are the perfect marriage between their level of disposable income and the wide-eyed-unwrapping Wow Factor. Yes, my child will be deeply impressed with that snow leopard for exactly half an hour, and then it’s just another enormous thing to clutter up their bedroom and get covered in dust.


Hot Tip, for the FWDHC – Kids’ favourite cuddly toys are not chosen on size. They are chosen on some completely mysterious, possibly black-magic formula that none of us can understand. If you think it’s the crappest little rag you’ve ever seen, they will think it’s their long-lost twin without whom they can’t eat, sleep or leave the house. Children are mysterious creatures.

6. Kinetic sand. 

Those who do not have young children do not know what kinetic sand is. Here’s a heads-up – kinetic sand is Sand. Supposedly, it does not make a mess, because it sticks together, completely dry, and allows the kids to sculpt and build and shape things – I believe they were once called Sand castles – in the middle of the living room. My daughter seems to know about it via osmosis, and “Magic Sand” is on her Santa list, big time.

Kinetic sand is bullshit. Yes, it DOES still stick to their fingers, and it just gets dirtier and grubbier with every play. And it never, ever, ever stays in its Play Tray. Because it’s Sand.

Don’t do it. Instead, your present can be to take my kids to an actual sand pit, or an actual beach, and help them build actual sand castles for an hour or so. Then buy them a Paddle Pop. They’re $1,50.

That’s perfect.

Thank you so much. And you know, Merry Christmas.

What would you add to the list?

Come and Like Holly on Facebook. As you can see from the way she treats her friends, she needs all the new ones she can get.