Christmas is such a magical time for children. Everything is twinkly and bright, they get time off school, TV is suddenly showing all the best Disney/Pixar films and, if they’re good, then a kindly old man in a red suit is going to sneak into their house overnight and give them lots of lovely new toys to play with.
It is, perhaps, a less magical time for parents. Not only because they spend a lot of time and money buying and wrapping presents only for some bloke with a freaky reindeer and a workshop with dubious ethical practices to take all the credit, but because they then have to deal with the aftermath of said presents. The delight on your child’s face when they unwrap Peek-A-Boo Elmo may be wonderful, but after seven hours of hearing the chirpy little bastard cry, “Peekaboo! Peekaboo!” you’re almost certainly going to be contemplating Muppeticide.
It’s clearly a pain that many parents can relate to, as 18 hours ago one Redditor asked the question: “Parents: now that it's the morning after, what do you regret getting your children for Christmas?”
Reader, there have already been 14,500 replies.
Most of the responses circle around toys that make noise – the drum kits, the echo microphone that their daughter won’t stop screaming into, the son who keeps playing the same four songs over and over on their new electric guitar. If you’re in a similar situation, spare a thought for user starlit_moon, who wrote: “My 4 year old got a keyboard and is going through a power ranger phase so keeps smashing her fingers on the keyboard while bellowing the Go Go power rangers theme song at the top of her voice.”
Or, if even that’s no comfort, at least your home isn’t turning into something from the Saw films: “Not a parent myself but a friend of the family got their son a toy chainsaw that he refused to let off the trigger that makes the noise. Two hours of a constant chainsaw noise was so much fun.” It’s only marginally better than: “A motion sensored plastic sword. It’s 11.30pm at night and that damned thing still keeps making a clashing sound from our empty hallway, I don't know to what movement. Now I am too scared to go to the loo.”
The delight on your child’s face when they unwrap Peek-A-Boo Elmo may be wonderful, but after seven hours of hearing the chirpy little bastard cry, ‘Peekaboo! Peekaboo!’ you’re almost certainly going to be contemplating Muppeticide
Then there are the toys that present practical problems. Ghastly_Gibus wrote: “Got a call from my kids to pick them up because their new electric skateboards ran out of power. Find My Friends says they're 9 miles away from home.” Then there was McBlemmen, who bought their kids a tarantula and a big terrarium for it to live in, only to wake up and find that the terrarium was empty. Dapiex bought “a Lego set for my 5yr brother. He threw every piece in the toilet causing it to get clogged”. Or you could be the poor parent who bought their kids Nerf guns, only to discover they were far more interested in shooting each other than the targets they bought to go with it: “It's been 2 days of them crying and screaming at each other.”
And it’s not just parents who are suffering from poor gift choices. One auntie bought her nephews their first mobile phones, only to write: “The youngest (12 years old) sent me a photo of his toe at 4am this morning. A photo of his bloody toe, after he accidentally ripped the nail off sneaking into the kitchen to eat leftover ham and cookies. His next message was: "should I wake my mom up? it really hurts.”
“At 7 am I got a message from his older brother (14 years old). It was a picture of a toilet and in that toilet was the biggest shit I've ever seen in my life. His message? 'GOT IT ALL OUT IN ONE BREATH'." And if that wasn’t bad enough, she’d got so drunk over Christmas that she’d forgotten she’d given her nephews phones, so spent a very hungover Boxing Day trying to figure out who the hell was sending her photos of a bloody toe and an enormous poo. ‘Tis the season, I suppose.
But, dear parents, don’t despair. You may have at least a decade more of noisy, messy, potentially emotionally scarring Christmases to get through, but you’ll get payback one day. At some point, don’t forget, you’ll get to be a grandparent: “We gave each grandchild something loud, something messy, and something that has pieces that will get lost. I'm perfectly content with that.” Ahhh, petty revenge on beloved family members. If that isn’t the true meaning of Christmas, I don’t know what is. God bless us, every one.