Holiday Guide 2009: Don't buy these gifts for my children—or anyone else's 

Pretty much everyone has childhood memories of extraordinarily bad presents and the people who gave them. Mine involves the aunt and uncle who gave me earring studs for Christmas four years in a row, despite the fact that my lobes clearly weren't pierced. Each year, I'd sigh, give them a wan smile, and quietly snap the jewelry box shut again, marveling at their lameness. Now that I'm an adult, I'd like to keep the children in your life from making the same unfortunate judgments about you. Here are a few kid gifts to avoid as you do your holiday shopping:

Amamanta Anatomically Correct Dolls
Hey, I appreciate your desire to "help aid in a child's role identification learning," but does it really take a dolly with yarn pubes to do it? When I think back on the trouble my own Barbie and Ken got up to, I shudder to think of what could happen when you give a kid a set of mommy and daddy dolls that literally leaves nothing to the imagination.

Children's ATM Bank
Fed up with her allowance mysteriously going missing all the time, my stepdaughter asked for a toy ATM bank for Christmas one year. Boy, was that a mistake. My husband and I were constantly setting the damn thing's alarm off because our kid kept changing the code on us, and that pretty much put an end to pizza delivery night at our house.

Pee and Poo Dolls
The Pee and Poo stuffed doll line may seem funny now, but wait until your child develops an attachment to one of them and you're left to do the explaining at preschool, the library and your church's nursery. The idea for this line should have been flushed before it ever hit the shelves.

Voice Changer Megaphone
My own parents had the bright idea of bringing one of these for the kids last time they visited. We're never inviting them back. When my children talk into this "fun" gadget, they sound like an alien with the flu...a very, very loud alien with the flu. Top it off with the fact that my son has taken to crying into it when he's upset and you end up with a mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Gelli Baff
Even saying the name aloud makes me feel kind of pervy. Gelli Baff packets turn bathwater into gelatin, supposedly providing endless fun and games for kids. However, I'm thinking they'd do better marketing this stuff at the Hustler Cafe.


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