5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids

GiftsSigh.  Is it too early to complain about Christmas yet?  Oh, it is?  Well, stop reading then.  Well, I’ll try to make it brief.  You see, I love Christmas but I hate the part about buying gifts, mainly because I am the world’s worst gift-giver.  I am such a bad gift giver, in fact, that I’ve resorted to giving money in lieu of presents for the most part.  This change came a few years ago after I decided that I had seen a look of disappointment on far too many faces each Christmas season.  What can I say?  I suck at buying gifts.  But, everyone likes money, right?  Even the toddlers in my family light up with glee when opening a card and finding a crisp $20 bill.  My kids freakin’ love money, even though they’re only 2 and 4.  And since they have no idea what individual bills and coins are worth, I can currently pay my daughter fourteen cents to clean her room and convince her that it’s one hell of a dealAhhh……the joys of being a parent.

Speaking of Santa, I’ve he’s been hard at work buying toys that will surely fall apart within a timeframe of 6-18 months.  So far, Santa has gotten my kids a doctor kit, a hairdresser kit, some sort of bowling game to replace the piece of shit Dora the Explorer bowling game that broke after only working for a few months, and some Barbies.  Oh, and Santa also got them some art supplies, some clothes, and some play food.  He also got my two-year-old a talking Dora doll that says really annoying things like “We did it!” and “Swiper, no swipie!”  I SERIOUSLY CANNOT WAIT.

Speaking of awful gifts for toddlers, there are plenty.  When I was out shopping, I saw some seriously weird toys for kids, ranging from inappropriate to bizarre. With that being said, here are 5 ridiculous gifts I won’t be getting my kids:

cleaning trolleyKid’s Cleaning Trolley- I laugh out loud every time I see this thing.  Can it possibly be for realz?  I mean, I’m all about paying my daughter 14 cents to clean her room, but I would never buy her a cleaning trolley of her own.  In my opinion, nothing says “I want you to be a janitor when you grow up,” like buying your toddler their own cleaning trolley complete with a mop bucket, dust pan, and vacuum.  Sadly, my four-year-old would probably love it.

My Baby Alive doll- Have you heard about this doll? baby alive doll Apparently it eats, drinks, and poops.  And, do you know who would be cleaning that shit up?  Me.  My two-year-old is still in diapers and we only have room for new dolls/toys/pets that can toilet themselves from now on.  Sorry, kids.  No dolls that poop.

kids tattoosFake Tattoos- Which one of my family members keeps getting my kids fake tattoos?  Right now my four-year-old has four haphazardly-applied Disney princess tattoos on her leg.  I can already see her disgruntled teenage years approaching right in front of my eyes.  I know I’ll have plenty of time to talk my kids out of doing ridiculous things, like getting a tattoo, when they grow up.  But for now, they’re so young.  Can’t they just be tattoo-free, if only for a while?

Bratz Dolls- Why would anyone get abratz dolls four-year-old a doll that is dressed like a sorority girl on Halloween?  I mean, whatever happened to plain ol’ Barbies without the hooker makeup and bootie shorts?  I’m sorry, but dolls shouldn’t be sexy.  And if anyone ever buys one of my kids a Bratz doll, I will promptly throw it away.

McDonald’s Play Food- AS IF my daughter isn’tmcdonaldsset already obsessed with McDonald’s enough.  My kids actually love play food.  But, you know, we’re sticking to regular ol’ food at our house, like little plastic carrots, potatoes, and cartons of milk.  The last thing we need is a plastic version of the grossest food on the planet, and something I want my kids to eat less of, McDonald’s.  Sorry, McDonald’s.  I may have to drive by you every day but there’s no way in hell you’re coming in my house.  Capiche?

What awful toys have you seen at the stores?  Are there any toys that you refuse to buy for kids?

About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.


  1. I’m totally with you on the Baby Alive Doll! Who comes up with this stuff? And who would buy that???? (Probably someone who could give it to someone who lives far away so there is no chance they would ever get stuck on baby doll diaper duty!)
    Dee @ Color Me Frugal recently posted..Learning from Money Mistakes #2: Buying a home to live in short-termMy Profile

  2. On my never buy list is makeup for toddlers. Or any clothes that have words written across their ass. They’ll have plenty of years for that later. No need to start so soon.
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda? Regrets On Debt Payoff?My Profile

  3. Haha oh my gosh these gifts are epic! And by epic I mean completely ridiculous! I think kid’s toy manufacturers run out of things to think of, but a cleaning trolley? Oh man…the sad thing is I am pretty sure they will sell tens of thousands of those this year alone.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Two Ways to Find Your Dream Job (Seriously!)My Profile

  4. I am a terrible gift giver too. Something I should probably work on, but why when cash and gift cards are so easy! I can’t believe people actually buy these toys for children! And I love that you pay your daughter 14 cents to clean her room!
    kelly @stayingonbudget recently posted..Better Luck Next Year…Improving 2014My Profile

  5. I’m lucky because my little guy still loves boxes and pans, so I won’t be buying him much. Maybe a new ball or two since he also loves those and just recently learned to say “foo-ball” and then spike it down and tell “touchdown” while raising his arms.

    I am not looking forward to when buy him a ball won’t quite be enough.

  6. The worst toy I’ve out there are all of the new Leapfrog digital games. I don’t blame leapfrog, but rather the end results of all the “digitalness” so young.

    My son is 8 months old and we will be getting him the Leapfrog digital stuff in the next year. However, he will be limited in how much he plays on the thing. My problem with the toy has nothing to do with the company but rather the end result of us parents getting our kids addicted to screens sooner and sooner.

    I love the practicality of the Leapfrog digital stuff, but just like the McDonalds food, we are teaching our kids bad habits too early. We will definitely be limiting our son’s “screen time” once we do pick up the Leapfrog tablet thing.

    The Warrior
    The Warrior recently posted..Is It Worth Fixing It Yourself?My Profile

  7. Oh wow, that sorority doll is ridiculous. My big plan is to get my son a little stuffed Patriots football, and possibly a mini basketball hoop. You know, no pressure or anything.
    Matt Becker recently posted..What Does Financial Freedom Mean to Me?My Profile

  8. Baby Alive has been around forever! Am I the only one who had one as a kid? Although, they seem to have gotten creepier looking over the years. Or maybe I’m just blocking out how creepy my doll was?

    When my nephews were toddlers, I loved buying for them. The youngest was obsessed with balls and shoes (Yes, I did buy him many princess shoes. And yes, my sister did hate me for it). Now he’s 9, and still loves shoes: $100+ tennis shoes. Am I the only one who thinks buying a 9 year old $100 shoes is crazy?
    Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth recently posted..Unexpected MoneyMy Profile

    • That doesn’t surprise me. I am oblivious. We don’t have cable and I never see commercials!

      My kids are too young to care about brand names and fancy shoes yet. I’m glad!

  9. Hahhaha I actually had a BabyAlive-esque doll when I was young, and it inspired no desire to actually have a baby in me.

    If you are looking for positive toys for your daughter, I recommend you check out GoldiBlox, construction toys for girls made by a Stanford engineer.
    Well Heeled Blog recently posted..Cities where Millennials can make it nowMy Profile

  10. ha ha! I guess you are all too young to know this, but Baby Alive was a doll from when I was a kid in the 70′s!!! It did the same thing and was a HUGE hit. Now that was the 70′s and we thought that technology was the shit (pun intended). I think the cleaning one is kind of cute and probably would have loved it, along the same lines as the shopping cart I had as a kid and an easy bake oven (although I burned my cake every time which set me up as a cooking failure). :) I hate when kid’s toys are too princess-y. You gotta set girl’s expectations a lot lower. lol!
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..What a Girl WantsMy Profile

    • My daughter has a shopping cart and she plays “store” with it all the time. I am seriously considering getting her an easy bake oven. She would love it!

  11. I do actually like the cleaning cart – to me it’s just like a play kitchen. But like a play kitchen, you could probably put together your own for your kids to play with instead of buying it! The rest of the gifts.. yeah, gross/wtf. I do remember those Baby Alive dolls from when I was younger and even as a kid I thought that was absolutely disgusting! And I remember in middle school, my friends’ younger sister had lots of Bratz dolls, so those have been corrupting small children for years, too. I have no idea what some of these toy companies are thinking (or what the parents who buy this crap for their kids are thinking!)
    Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial recently posted..The Prepper vs The MinimalistMy Profile

  12. I used to work at a toy store and those Bratz dolls sold like crazy. I never understood why, considering the name and how “hot” they look. I agree that dolls in general need to be toned down. Furbies also creeped me out. Honestly, when any talking toy went off after the store was closed it was a bit weird! I’d rather focus on fun educational toys.
    E.M. recently posted..Would You Get A Loan from a Pawn Shop?My Profile

  13. I still prefer to buy my kids educational toys which can challenge their minds and keep them busy yet still have fun.
    The College Investor recently posted..Managing Your Investments While TravelingMy Profile

  14. Ha! Those gifts are crazy…who actually buys them? I’m like you…I don’t like buying gifts and have no idea what to get. Luckily I don’t have many people to shop for. My parents prefer cash and that’s fine by me. As for my 4 month old, I’m sure whatever we end of getting, he’ll be more interested in playing with the box it came in.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted..The Low Monthly Payment TrapMy Profile

  15. Haha, Holly, this is hilarious. I don’t know what I will buy my future children. I think arts and crafts stuff would be fun, but then again, the clean up would be awful.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted..Giving On a BudgetMy Profile

  16. I’m not sure when dolls started looking trampy, but it is s trend I have noticed and don’t appreciate. Our daughter has discovered the American Girl dolls thanks to my Mom. You really can’t buy anything AG that isn’t under $100, which I think is ridiculous. I told my Mom she is going to have to scratch that itch.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Is Walmart Really the Bad Guy?My Profile

  17. I’m the world’s worst gift giver too! This year, I’m not exchanging presents with my husband…because he just wants to pick something out for himself!
    Kelsie recently posted..My eBook Release PartyMy Profile

  18. Bratz dolls and other “sexy” toys are one of the reasons I’m grateful I had a boy. My nephew loved to use the swiffer sweeper but I wouldn’t but him his own cleaning stuff.

    • I should also add that one of Emmett’s gifts this year is a Boba 3g (which is a baby carrier) because its something we need and I’m at a lose of what to get him.
      I’m also on the fence of why wrap his gifts? He’ll be 5 months at Christmas its not like he’s going to be able to open them anyway.
      Jennifer @ Budgeting in Baby recently posted..Pampers Reward CodeMy Profile

  19. “I can currently pay my daughter fourteen cents to clean her room and convince her that it’s one hell of a deal.” Lol, I LOVE it! I don’t know where to start – the McD’s “food” (which is probably more real than their “real” food), the Sorority doll or the pooping baby. Our kids discovered fake tattoos this year, thanks to my parents and have learned that I am NOT a fan of them. As long as the toys aren’t noise makers then I am willing to at least take a look at it.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..When Being Frugal Embarrassed MeMy Profile

  20. Ahhh! I LOVED cleaning when I was little. I would tell my mom that “I feel like today is a cleaning day” and she would give me Windex and a cloth and I’d clean all the windows and mirrors (as far as I could reach). I would sweep and help ‘fold’ laundry. I would have thoroughly enjoyed the cleaning trolley because I would’ve been able to boss my siblings around and make them clean up. To this day, I still like cleaning and doing laundry.

  21. Ridiculous gifts…nothing more than the extreme end of the consumer oriented industries. Educational gifts for children? I’m in. Overall, I’m sticking to family needs and not spur of the moment wants.

    And don’t get me started on fake tattoos. What was once relegated to men in uniform and bikers, has transformed into body mutilation (IMO). Well, it will certainly increase the cash flow of dermatologist’s offices. I only hope that removals don’t get subsidized by Obamacare! :)

  22. Hahaha all of those toys seem awful!
    Michelle recently posted..My Motivation For Side IncomeMy Profile

  23. These are great! We have a Baby Alive doll in our house and my 2 girls love it. It is an outside toy though! They just hose it off when they are doing playing with it.
    Kyle | Rather-Be-Shopping.com recently posted..Maximize Savings: Which Retailers Let You Stack CouponsMy Profile

  24. One of the *many* potty training books I read said that the baby alive doll could help with potty training, and if #2 doesn’t click soon, we might go that route. We bought GoldieBlox during the kickstarter, and she’s just now old enough to maybe enjoy playing with them, so that’s her Christmas gift. I think grandpa got her a fire truck, and grammy is still deliberating on what to get her.
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..Home Network Security Part 2 – Anti-VirusMy Profile

  25. Those Bratz dolls scare the shit out of me!

  26. I was all about fake tattoos as kid. My Dad threatened to cut me off financially if I ever got one, so college I stayed ink free. Once I graduated I thought I’d probably get one, but still never have. Probably because it just seems too expensive!
    Broke Millennial recently posted..Yes, You Do Need an Emergency Fund (talking to you, indebted millennials)My Profile

  27. No thanks to dolls that poop! As much as I love my girls, it really wasn’t that fun changing their diaper! :) And by the way, can I say how awesome it is that you pay your daughter 14 cents to clean her room. What a bargain!!! I’m not a fan of the Bratz dolls either. Beyond how they look, I really don’t want to give my girls a doll that’s called brats. Lauren is turning 10 this month so she’s starting to move out of the toy phases which is both nice and sad.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..How to Develop a Gratitude Mindset in KidsMy Profile

  28. Funny thing about Bratz dolls, the person who created them started at Mattel Barbie and Mattel tried to sue Bratz claiming they stole their idea. Bratz won in the end but as you can see, you’re not far off with the comparison. I don’t get their lack of noses… that really bothers me!
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted..Holiday shopping when you’re broke like meMy Profile

  29. I don’t know about all of you, but when my 4 year old daughter wants to clean, I’d rather it be the “real deal” than fake stuff. Yes, she would love the cleaning trolley, but that wouldn’t benefit me. Instead, I give her real cleaning stuff and she actually does a pretty good job helping me!

  30. I’m like you Holly…money in a card and gift certificates to a local coffee shop for the kids is all I’m willing to expend my energy on during the holidays!

    The McDonalds toy!!! WTF!!! :)

    Thanks for a fun and enlightening read Holly and take care.

    All the best.

    lyle @ the Joy of Simple recently posted..On Meeting DaleMy Profile

  31. I’ve seen a plastic dog toy which poops when you press something. And it’s horrible rubbery, squashy brown poop that comes out. Yuk!! Why??? There’s just no need for it!
    Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt recently posted..Christmas Money Making ChallengeMy Profile

  32. Why do you have to hate on janitors, the world needs them to you know ;). I understand where you are coming from with the trolley though. If you want the kid to clean, give them a real broom, not some miniturized garbage that will likely break before it does any actual cleaning.
    Micro recently posted..Reader Poll: Will we see an end to media purchases in the next 10 years?My Profile

  33. I wouldn’t buy any of these either! And hopefully I will also be able to stick to the plan of not getting my boy a tablet/smartphone to play on until he’s 7.
    C. the Romanian recently posted..Retire in Romania – Pros and ConsMy Profile

  34. Those are ridiculous! I completely stopped buying gifts for my nieces and nephews because they have enough crap as it is. No use in me spending money on something they’ll just ignore.
    Ben @ The Wealth Gospel recently posted..What I Learned About Financial Independence as a Mormon MissionaryMy Profile

  35. These things would end up being junk in the house since I doubt kids would use them regularly.It’s funny that your kids freaking love money already. It’s great you are making them earn it though.
    Demaish recently posted..My top spending pitfalls in my early 20′sMy Profile

  36. I worked at Toys R Us over ten years ago and Bratz dolls were just starting to get popular then. Sad to hear that they are still popular!
    CF recently posted..Making a power play at workMy Profile

  37. LOL. This post is too funny! No way I’m buying those for my kids. I won’t bring those toys home even if they pay me. Space is at a premium in our house. My plan is to buy one big thing for both of my kids (ages 4 and 2). Something they can share together. I’m going to tell the grandparents to give the kids train sets and accessories instead of random toys.

  38. Totally had a baby alive doll when I was like 5 years old. We were fascinated with how it worked! My niece had one too and we constantly dared her to eat the “poop.”
    Michelle @fitisthenewpoor recently posted..Surviving the Crappy Job- My Career ProgressionMy Profile

  39. My gosh, I cannot imagine who decided to make these things. Especially those tattoo things! My mom hated them when I was a kid because she said I looked like a ragamuffin with them on.

    Barbies are super sexy too! And completely unrealistic. Bratz are just messed up!
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted..Cheaper, Less Stressful Alternatives to Christmas Gift GivingMy Profile

  40. This post is hilarious! I agree that Bratz dolls are way too over-sexualized for children. They are also just plain scary looking. Their heads and eyes are way too big.
    Terry @EasyFinancialTips recently posted..5 New Year’s Money Resolutions Everyone Should MakeMy Profile

  41. Brian Porter says:

    Thank you for giving me the top 5 gifts my nieces will be getting (i.e. your daughters)…

    Love, your Brother


  42. How are Bratz dolls still around (ugh). Baby alive was around when I was a little girl and I thought it was gross, truth be told. My nieces have never asked for anything like that and everything they want are pretty cool. My oldest niece loves Marvel (no complaints here), reading and non-electronic toys.
    Rebecca recently posted..Three Steps Forward, Two Steps BackMy Profile

  43. Hey! These “worst gift ideas” are too funny! For a GREAT gift idea, you will LOVE learning more about Cuddleuppets, the wonderfully soft, snuggly, and fun “pets” for kids! Check them out here: http://www.handi-dandi-crafts.com/


  1. […] was CRACKING UP over Club Thrifty’s “5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids.” I totally had cleaning toys, Baby Alive, and McDonalds play food. In fact, I had a McDonalds drive […]

  2. […] @ Club Thrifty writes 5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids – As the mother of two toddler daughters, I am horrified by some of the toys I have seen in […]

  3. […] @ Club Thrifty writes 5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids – As the mother of two toddler daughters, I am horrified by some of the toys I have seen in […]

  4. […] @ Club Thrifty writes 5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids – As the mother of two toddler daughters, I am horrified by some of the toys I have seen in […]

  5. […] presents 5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids posted at Club Thrifty, saying, “As the mother of two toddler daughters, I am horrified by […]

  6. […] @ Club Thrifty writes 5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids – As the mother of two toddler daughters, I am horrified by some of the toys I have seen in […]

  7. […] out loud funny, Holly from Club Thrifty presents 5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids, and says, “As the mother of two toddler daughters, I am horrified by some of the toys I have […]

  8. […] Uma lista de presentes que as crianças não deveriam ganhar no natal(nem em outras datas!); – 15 tarefas simples que necessitam de 15 minutos para manter a […]

  9. […] Thrifty writes 5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids – As the mother of two toddler daughters, I am horrified by some of the toys I have seen in […]

  10. […] to make: I hate toys!  Some of them are okay, but it seems that most toys my kids get are poorly made and falling apart.  My kids think they’re awesome, of course, but it drives me crazy when we get a giant […]

  11. […] @ Club Thrifty writes 5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids – As the mother of two toddler daughters, I am horrified by some of the toys I have seen in […]

  12. […] @ Club Thrifty writes 5 Ridiculous Gifts I’m Not Getting My Kids – As the mother of two toddler daughters, I am horrified by some of the toys I have seen in […]

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge