Holiday Gifts for Kids That Won’t Drive Parents Crazy

The parents of VICE share what they really think about your frilly dresses and noisemakers.
December 11, 2019, 2:45pm
Collage by Lia Kantrowitz | Images via Shutterstock 

Each week, VICE parents (yes, they exist) share their unfiltered approach to all things child-rearing.

It’s that time of year when, if you’re a parent of young children, your well-meaning friends and family want to shower your kids with love and affection. It’s great—except maybe the part where you’re stuck with a mountain of extra stuff to put away.

Receiving gifts for your kids can be a complex combination of feeling grateful for the sentiment, and keeping your composure as you watch your kid fall in love with something that’s probably going to make your life hell until the battery finally dies.


Read on for some advice from the parents of VICE on what to give your friends with kids, that will make the holidays happy—for everyone.

What to Get

Katie Drummond, SVP, Digital

My recommendation is to ask ahead of the parents and then just buy something they need or want for their child. "The Ask-Ahead" is the greatest gift you could give. (Also, some age-appropriate books never hurt anyone and tend not to make loud noises or require constant battery changes.)"

Leslie Horn, Culture Editorial Director at VICE, seconds this tip, adding that asking ahead is especially important when the person you’re giving to has limited space. “We live in an apartment so I always appreciate when people ask what we need or want first, rather than just giving us toys,” she says.

Some suggestions:

Just Because book

Just Because

Look Both Ways book

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Kate Lowenstein, Editorial Director, News and Issues

The best gifts we've gotten are things that I, the parent, want to play with, too. That's probably just me being self-centered, but it's really fun to sit and build things with magnetic tiles, or make snowmen out of Play-Doh, and way less fun to watch blankly while my kid does something boring and repetitive with a less interactive toy.

Some suggestions:

Magna Tiles



Play-Doh Stamp 'n Top Pizza Oven

Timothy Marchman, Editorial Director, Features

The best gift for a parent is probably time. Offering to watch a kid, so that whomever has to do so normally can go out and see a movie, get a drink or just read a book, is pretty much always welcome and needed. Plus, it's a gift for the giver since they get to spend time with a kid, which is good (unless the kid is awful, in which case don't offer). Short of that, a nice bottle of wine certainly helps make parenting easier if you happen to drink, and so does a good, escapist book that doesn't require too much sustained concentration.

Some suggestions:


A voucher redeemable for your time in babysitting

Wine club

Wine of the Month Club

What to Avoid

“Clothes from well-intentioned but extremely gender normative relatives,” Drummond says. “Dear god. Thank you for the [checks notes] white dress that looks like a two-year-old version of a bridal gown, however my daughter will wear this a grand total of zero times and the entire household is mildly offended.”

Horn says: “We don't really need more toys!”

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