Something that bothers me at Xmas (parenting issue)

Do any of you get a bad feeling in your stomach when you see what looks like a parent trying to pick out something he/she thinks a kid will like?

For example, a parent goes into an EB to get something cool for her kid. She has no clue what to get, but she’s trying really hard to please them. She knows they like Harry Potter, so she buys them some crappy HP game that I know her kids won’t really like. But she’s trying so hard.

It really makes me sad. I see the slight smile on her face as she gets joy from picking out something for her kids, and then I find myself imagining her disappointment when they have a less than stellar reaction on Xmas day.

Ugh…upsets me just thinking about it.

No. She probably has other talents that make up for her lack of gift videogame purchasing skills.

Whereas my game purchasing skills rokz0rs. I was uncle of the year last xmas with Guitar Hero, and same this year with Elite Beat Agents and MTG cards from the Mirrodin expansion block.

Yeah, just depends on the person. My wife is great at getting gifts for the kids, she sucks at getting gifts for me. :P

I wasn’t talking about videogames in particular. That was just an example. I mean parents in general who are a bit out of touch with what their kids want, but who still want to surprise them with things that the kid didn’t specifically ask for.

And yeah, you are the rocking uncle.

Well… not so much.

OLG and I bought a bunch of toys for kids from the wish tree this year (“Chastity, age 8, would like princess stuff”; “Josh, age 7, likes Transformers”, etc.) who would otherwise get nothing.
That upsets me.

I did that, and I got the feeling that the parents in Mr Sharp’s example probably had when I was trying to pick out Star Wars toys for an 8-year-old. Will he think the millenium falcon transformer is cool, or retarded and lame? I don’t know.

I felt much more confident picking out Gamecube games for the 12-year-old. Except for the part where I don’t know what he already has.

My eight year old son asked for six things this year. I don’t remember them all, but they were all unreasonable. Electric guitar, drum set, iPod Nano (he has an MP3 player but apparently it’s not cool enough), etc. So… I was left to my own devices.

I think I did ok. It’s always a challenge with the kids. Just because they asked for it, doesn’t mean they’ll actually play with it for more than 3 minutes.

I’ve just been asked to buy Eragon on the PS2 for the SO’s nephew. My expectations aren’t high, but it’s what the kid asked for apparently, so what can you do?

Kids also seem to have a much lower tolerance for what constitutes a “good” game, maybe hes been bouncing arond asking for the sucky HP game for the last 6 months and, because it’s got Harry and dragons in it, will like even though you or I think it’s bollocks.

I wanted to get him Guitar Hero, but he’s only 9ish and I haven’t heard of half the songs on it, so I bit my lip, admitted I just wanted to play it and bought Eragon instead. I’ve only met him once so I’ve not idea what to get as a backup game if Eragon is going to be as pony as I think it is.

Not to derail this thread from people talking about gifts they give or receive themselves, but I know exactly what you are talking about and it’s terrifically depressing if thought about. That switch from pride at a good gift purchase for a loved one to sadness at the child’s unwittingly cruel rejection of said gift is murder on the psyche.

Basically, fuck you for making me think about it, I’m going to go cry now.

Kids are evil.

When I was a kid and up until now I make sure I always display glee and gratefulness whenever someone gets me a gift, regardless of whether I like it or not. I know how crushingly disappointing it can be for a parent to go around looking for what they think is a cool gift for their kids and spending the effort of carefully picking something out, only to be rebuked because the kid hates it and whines about it. Granted I’d be a lot happier if I was asked what I wanted for the occasion, but I definitely won’t show any disappointment at a gift I receive from anyone.

FWIW, a beloved license can be all many kids need. Mine have most of the HP games on one platform or another, and would say they are all great. It doesn’t really cross their minds that they replay these games relatively little.

I’m feeling bad this year because I had an easy time thinking of a bunch of really cool stuff for my 13.5 year old son - things he’s never even heard of, let alone asked for. For my 10 year old son, all the ideas so far are more generic and not even as many. I guess I’ve already used my good ideas for a 10 year old boy, and he’s not quite old enough to have developed many unique interests of his own. Also, the 10 year old’s birthday was last week, so we already used a few good ideas then.

Assuming we aren’t snowed in again today, I’m planning to browse a couple of toy & game stores looking for inspiration. Also see if his favorite little sushi restaurant has gift certificates.

For younger kids, all the derivative gameplay is brand new and interesting. That’s part of why they can like games more experienced gamers would not.

I don’t worry too much about whether other parents choose perfectly – the fact that they care enough to agonize about it suggests that they love their children and that will be communicated. It isn’t so much about things as relationships.

I feel bad for parents who can’t afford Christmas, though. We buy gifts for various charities, but there is only so much you can do.

I recommend Guitar Hero. I got it for my 8 year old son for his birthday. At first, he didn’t play it all. He thought it was too hard and played with his other games and toys. Eventually he warmed up to it, and now he plays it ALL THE TIME.

I think it’s a pretty rewarding video game in regards to how it increases his manual dexterity, musical appreciation and rhythm, etc.

Guitar Hero is just solid. It’s fun for all ages and makes sense to people at a glance even if they aren’t particularly good at it. I’m totally going to try and be an awesome uncle this year and pick up GH2 for my sister’s family.

Well, yeah, of course, but that’s missing my point. Ben knows exactly what I am talking about. I’m not saying they are bad parents. Far from it. I’m saying kids are cruel and I hate seeing parents lovingly put effort into a gift and then imagining their kids being visibly disappointed. You can’t tell me that doesn’t hurt the parent. I know it does.

Like Tranquility, I always express joy, no matter the gift, just for that reason.

Eh, w/ my neice, I ask her what she wants and then go buy it, then I go buy some art shit for her.

This year I had to buy some bratz ps2 game, but it’s what she wanted.

If they are just flailing around in the dark hoping to buy something great, they are fucking up xmas. Or at least I was raised in a family where the kids make an xmas list, which I assumed my parents farmed out to the rest of the family and ‘santa’.

I have an 8-year-old son too. In the Toys R Us toy booklet he circled Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and PSP. Yeah right.

At least he circled other stuff too.

No, they’re just brutally, brutally honest.

What is this wish tree, and where can I find one?

(Your post is making me feel guilty…)