I’m making a list, I’m checking it twice… Apparently, Santa Claus has little trouble preparing for Christmas, but as many of you undoubtedly know finding the right present for every kid on your list can be quite a headache. If you want to make your shopping trip easy and fun you might consider thinking about what you should look for before hitting the stores where you might get swayed into buying toys that look cute or cuddly, but turn out to be totally inappropriate.
Consider your four years nephew. Last Christmas, you bought him a building bricks set and it was a great success. You might want to check with his parents first to see what he is into this year. Maybe he is crazy about trains or robots. Better still you could inquire about his wish list and volunteer to buy one of the items on it, so his eyes will really fill with joy when he opens it. Also, by checking with the parents you can avoid buying something he already has, sparing the little one of a big disappointment.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you must buy something the kid can really use. What’s the point of buying a trampoline, if the family doesn’t have a garden? Likewise, you might want to refrain from getting the child a shining electric car if they live in an apartment on a crowded street, nowhere near a park. Your beautiful car might end up gathering dust in the basement and the child won’t have anything to be thankful for. The same goes for toys that make too much noise. Imagine buying a drum-set for a boy who lives in a small house. The boy may end up fighting with his parents about the new drum and his mother may secretly hate you for buying such a present.
The age of the child is something else you must keep in mind when you hit the stores. If you’re looking for something suitable for a small child, make sure you don’t buy a toy that’s too complicated or difficult to use. A model airplane kit might seem rather cool for a boy, but if he is too young he probably won’t have the skills needed to assemble it. Also, the small elements might be a choking hazard so you’d better check the label on the box to see the age group a certain item is intended for. At the same time, you shouldn’t pick something too childish for an older kid. Remember that children grow up fast and their preferences change accordingly. A girl who only a year ago was crazy about dolls might have evolved into a very self-conscious teen and might prefer a nice sweater or some bracelets. At this point, one must consider not only what the child might want, but also what the parents consider appropriate. They might not want to encourage their daughter’s new-found interest for jewellery, nor their teenage son’s passion for violent computer games.
To sum it up, before you go shopping think very carefully about the child’s age and interests, the appropriateness of a certain toy and, best of all, check with the parents to see what the kid really wants. It’s the best way to make sure that Christmas turns out to be really magical for all the children you want to make happy at this time of the year.