Things that are way over my kid's pay grade
Now, don't get me wrong, my kids are smart. But a lot of gifts we receive are for kids that are more than twice their age. This is lovely and all, but the toys basically sit and collect dust until my kid can understand them and by the time they can, I have either buried them under three tons of other crap, never to see them again, or they are so completely uncool that my kids wouldn't touch them with a 10-foot pole. Sponge Bob erector sets? Seriously, grandma. These are so 2012.
On the same age-appropriate note, though one of my kids is old enough to play with toys with small pieces, the other is not. So buying her Polly Pockets is AWESOME for her until she plays them with her little brother and says, "Here, Cool Cucumber. You can play with this tiny shoe. I hope you choke on it." Not fun for anyone. Also, Polly Pockets should be banned from existence anyway. Who the hell has time to corral all of those tiny little pieces? How about I just vacuum up the entire set and we call it a day?
Things that take up an entire room
People like to be generous when giving gifts to kids. Which is freaking awesome. Except when their generosity comes in the form of toys that take up an entire room. Though the 16-foot blow-up ball pit was a super awesome score for the kids, I now have to watch TV while sitting in the middle of it. Because god forbid we take it down and play with something else. Ever. Especially since you play with it for a whole 10 seconds A WEEK!
Toys that my kid obviously already has
Wow, a set of blocks? I TOTALLY never thought to get my three-year-old blocks. You are a genius. Let me put these right next to the 16 other sets of blocks she has because she is THREE and not a homeless child who lives on the street.
Things that require D batteries
Seriously. Just stop. Those things are like $5k a piece and each toy that uses them needs at least four of them to work. And then 15 minutes later…it needs four more. Mama is broke and that toy is ANNOYING!
Things that require ninja-like skills to assemble
If it takes more than five minutes to assemble, please, please, please either assemble it before you give it to them or don't buy it. Christmas sucks major ass when we are in the middle of 3,000 tons of empty boxes and wrapping paper and my kids just HAS TO play with Barbie's ski chalet RIGHT NOW. I am still in my pajamas and haven't had any wine yet, so I am not prepared to work an allen wrench, hammer and power saw to put Barbie's winter timeshare together right now. OK, stop crying. I will just get some duct tape and super glue and this shit is on.