You’d think after all that talk about Christmas presents that I would be the gifting expert. At least when it comes to gifts for kids. Right? Well, in a strange stroke of karma, we attended the birthday party of my son’s classmate this weekend. And we gave the blah gift.
It even had blah wrapping paper. Actually, if you were a middle-aged woman, you’d have enjoyed the wrapping paper. But since my gift recipient was 5, he didn’t think it was so awesome.
Let me back track.
On Friday night I realize, “Oh crap! We have to go to that birthday party and I have no gift to give.” So I debate in my head about where to shop for said gift. Target. Or the cool toy store by my house. I choose the cool toy store. Which you’d think would mean that my gift wouldn’t be blah. Except a lot of times, cool toy store = educational toys, which therefore = not exciting to open at a birthday party in front of ten of your friends from school.
So, I go to the toy store and I select this:
It’s the Doodle-Track Car. You can draw a track, or design one on the computer and print it, and the car will follow it. No matter what shape you draw. I mean, cool! Right? It’s a car, which preschoolers love. And they can draw a track. And drawing is good for fine motor skills or something like that. Win-win! The kid will love it. The mom will love it. The other parents at the party will think I’m a genius. My son will make friends based on the coolness of this birthday present and we’ll get invited to all the birthday parties because that’s what it’s all about, folks: Popularity. I mean, Saturday mornings at the bounce house and lots of cake!
When the cashier asks if I’d like it gift wrapped for free, I say, “Yes! Yes I would.” Because that saves me a trip to another store for birthday-themed wrapping paper. And let’s be honest. I’d have bought a gift bag, because those are so much easier. This will be better.
The kind lady at the register also asks me if I’d like to buy the package of AAA batteries they sell because this toy requires two of them and they aren’t included. Well, I don’t want to be a douchebag gifter by giving an awesome toy but not the batteries. So I buy them. At approximately triple the normal price. But this is convenience and you can’t put a price tag on that.
So they wrap it up in fancy paper. They even wrap the batteries in some tissue and put them in a little bag and tie it on the package with some curling ribbon. It’s so cute! And I’m awfully proud of myself because now I have more time to
surf the internet write at Starbucks later on.
Cut to: The birthday party.
Our gift is somehow the last one opened. The big finish. First problem: that darn ribbon. There is not a pair of scissors in sight and the gift wrapper did such a good job tying it, the poor birthday boy’s mother cannot get it undone. Embarrassing. Then after a five-minute struggle to break the ribbon (you’d think a dad in the room would have had a Swiss Army Knife or something, but they must have confiscated those at bounce house security), the mom hands the boy the present to finish unwrapping.
So he does. And the first thing he opens is the batteries. After all of that struggling with the ribbon, I can see the disappointment in his eyes. I mean. Batteries? After all that work?
He grabs the package and now everyone is anticipating what must be inside and he rips into the paper like any kid his age. He holds up the box and the mom excitedly says, “IT’S A…I don’t know what this is.” Mom grabs the present and reads the title out loud, “A doodle car?”
So she flips the package over to read what this present is all about. To her credit: She reads the description, her eyebrows perk, and she says to her son, “Buddy, this looks cool. Look what it can do.” And she attempts to show him the pictures on the back of the package. But by then the son has moved on to the cooler toys he’s already opened. Those of the super hero variety. Which I could have purchased at Target. Along with a gift bag.
(My husband read this and informed me that the present is cool, and the boy will like it once he understands what it is. So maybe there is hope for our birthday party invitation future after all. Also, the boy wasn’t ungrateful or anything. He’s just five. And there were Spider Man presents. I mean SPIDER MAN. Come on! You really can’t blame him.)