Gifts that might take

I’m thinking for Christmas, based solely on the amount of time I’ve spent locked in the bathroom hiding from my children, just trying to get in a quiet 5 minutes, my girls should get pretty little white jackets with lots of buckles. I kid! I joke! I might get them if I thought I could get away with it! I kid! I joke! I’m legally required, here, I think, to tell you that it’s Safe Toy and Gift Month. To make up for that joke, I’m going to help you recognize unsafe toys.

I grew up with some pretty dangerous toys, but I was (Sesame) Street like that. I had one of these, only instead of a horse, it was Big Bird.

Perfectly safe

Then there were the toys with tiny parts that came off, parts that my younger sister could swallow. I know we both had one toy that would give that woodchipper in Fargo a fright.

Those holes look just big enough for 2-year-old fingers

Each generation of toys seems to get safer. My mom played with  something like this, which she, of course, shoved through the roof of her mouth and had to get stitches. Her parents might have just as easily given her a Shuriken (“ninja stars” to anyone who isn’t actually a ninja).

In the wrong hands, a weapon of self-destruction

 Why do we even BUY toys for kids? They don’t want toys, they want rocks, sticks, boxes,  and toilet paper rolls, from which they can make pets, weapons, hideyholes, more weapons, etc. This Christmas, Chanukuh, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, if you’re going to give in to consumerist pressures to buy “STUFF,” consider retro-cool presents. For you Christians, maybe go WAY WAY back to Jesus’ day and give the gifts Jesus got: gold, frankincense and myrrh. After all, as the title character in the one-man show, Joseph, said what? they couldn’t find a rattle? And what parent doesn’t want their kid playing with rocks, trying to burn things and learning the fine art of embalming?

Every kid's dream gifts

Give safe gifts. Give smart gifts. Give the gift of time, love and grace this holiday season.

What’s the most dangerous toy you played with as a kid, and still lived to tell the tale?


8 responses to “Gifts that might take

  1. +1 for knowing what a Shuriken is. You get cooler by the post.

  2. My husband set the side of his neighbor’s garage on fire when he made a flame thrower out of a super-soaker water gun. Really. He did. He also shot another neighbor in the hand when he decided to see what would happen when you hit a bullet with a hammer. Needless to say, he got his degree in physics when he grew up.
    I just day-dreamed all the time. Climbed a lot of trees. Tall ones. Too high perhaps? Rode my bike without a helmet? On the highway? Wandered in the woods by myself following creeks to waterfalls and jumping into deep whirling pools of fresh, cold clear water with no one else for miles around? Climbing cliff-sides without rope? Do these things count? I would never let my kids do any of that of course. But honestly? I don’t regret it for a minute and I’m glad there was no one to stop me. Those are some of my most valuable memories. (Thank GOD I’m still alive.)

  3. I had the springy horse and the snoopy sno-cone maker! My dad never let me have an easy bake oven, so of course his granddaughters are each getting their own from my mom this year.

    But the year my dad made my brother and I and all of my cousins rubber band guns was probably the most dangerous. I’m sure the potential to shoot an eye out was extraordinarily high! Being gun obsessed (much less dangerous than lightbulb heated stoves, right?) Dad is getting the girls marshmallow shooters this year…the biggest risk being for our dog who runs a distinct risk of getting very fat on marshmallows that missed their targets!

  4. The most dangerous “toy” I ever played with was actually at the preschool I attended in the late 70s. It was a tree stump that you pounded real nails into with a real hammer. Yes, 3-5 year olds, real hammers, real (sharp) nails. I don’t remember ever pounding my finger or being poked or stepping on a nail, although I’m sure it happened to someone sometime. My mom (who was the teacher) and I still laugh at the thought of us kids playing with a tree stump. But hey, I suppose it taught us some sort of skill…right?

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