Dilemma: Christmas gifting for kids

American-Girl-DollI don’t have kids.


Or maybe I do, I just haven’t met them yet or I misplaced them somewhere. I am, after all, terribly irresponsible.

However when it comes to Christmas and gifts for kids, I become the worst kind of non parent. The one who tries to overcompensate, fix everything which might be wrong  or bad in their little world AND have the gift be so memorable that they actually use it past December 25th. Clearly not a parent. Its the Aunt curse.

Hello. My name is Aunt<blank>..and I’m a gifting fascist.

I’ve always been obsessed with gift giving. Not in terms of volume but in terms of perfection. I love love love finding the perfect something that I know will result in a) tears of joy b) amazement that I know them so well or c) out and out screams of delight. If someone pees their pants.. I’m not adverse to finding out.

No. Its not selfish or needy or fucked up at all.

And I’m certainly not buying love. Really.

I just think if I’m going to invest my $50 in something, I don’t want it to be tossed aside, regifted or used as a referendum on our relationship for the rest of eternity. Plus parting with cash when I’m in the midst of ‘Debt Free by 2015’ is a bitch. Do you KNOW how much I could be paying off my credit cards if we didn’t have birthdays and Christmas?

(FYI if you’re one of those ‘send love not gifts’ people, stop reading now and to be honest, delete my phone number.. you are dead to me. Gifts rock).

So, armed with a strict budget and a ridiculous deadline (gifts have to sent to the UK before Thanksgiving to even have a hope of getting their before December 25th), I’m Christmas shopping like a motherfucker this week.

Which brings me to my current dilemma. Where as I am content to peruse my mental aisles, the physical stores and chase down the perfect gift that a grown up has asked for .. when it comes to kids I’ve always gone with the ‘anti-norm’. If they’ve asked for it, its not arriving. I am anti pink, anti- fairys, anti- princess and I am certainly anti ‘Easy Bake Oven’. If they want a toy machine gun -fine – but no baking. Not when you’re 6.

Now I’ve not stooped to wooden toys but I refuse to follow the herd of norm with a polyester tutu and a white skinny doll called Bitchface (actually its Barbie, but I prefer Bitchface). Instead I’ve bought books, I’ve bought pirate costumes, swimming pool games and even a roll up piano one year. No dolls, no trends and no no no American kiddie crap.

But this year as the deadline looms and my knowledge of what a precocious, already has more ‘i’ things than me, girlie 8 year old wants is pretty damn thin. I mean, she went to see One Direction this year. An 8 year old. Does this mean I’m meant to accept that she’s already  a tween and head off in search of makeup and CDs? or can I ignore the obvious ‘they grow up so fast now’ torment and try to expand her mind or athletic ability with something less obviously ‘girl’ oriented? Hell I really want to buy her some cool custom Chucks but is she already obsessed with heels? At 8???

Her sister is easy… at 6, she remains a tomboy, she idolizes her sister, reads years above her age and is a pain in the butt..so basically me, 36 years ago. I could shop for her every day of the week and not miss. But a girlie 8 year old? I’m stuck.

So, in my first sign of weakness in years I had to call my sister and actually ask for ideas.


The suggestion – American Girl outfits.

American Girl.

The pink palace of polyester playmates.

Can you get more ‘American’ ? More commercial, thoughtless and unimaginative? More girlie and traditional, role reinforcing, anti feminist? My knee jerk reaction is ‘oh hells no’ but I’m desperate. Which means this afternoon I’ll be heading to the mall.

To the mall.

To American Girl.

To buy two outfits (and shoes) for 2 dolls.

Called ‘American Girl’.

I think I’ll need to reread ‘the Female Enuch’ when I get back just to realign my spine.


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