A word of advice to those getting presents for other people’s children: if you are going to get anything that requires batteries, get the present out of the box, detangle it from its Fort Knox of plastic/wire ties, locate tiny flap, unscrew tiny flap with tiny, doll’s screwdriver – (haven’t got one?! NEITHER HAVE WE, BUDDY) – insert correct batteries the correct way round, check the fucking thing works, screw tiny flap back on with tiny dolly screw then put back in box and then wrap.
If that sounds like too much of a hassle, then maybe get something that doesn’t require batteries.
Note to parents getting own children presents requiring batteries: also do this before presenting child with gift to save yourself much heartache and hassle on the day.
What are your top tips for hassle-saving on Christmas Day? Feel free to leave a comment in the handy comment box below.
Have a notebook and pen to hand when present opening commences. Then you can be sure not to forget which Great Auntie bought the dinosaur that screeches so you can send her hate mail, erm, I mean a lovely thank you notelet.
Yes! I keep a note of who bought what on my phone (so it looks as though I’m texting throughout present opening).
I do think quite a few toys have packaging that has been designed by (1) a sadist or (2) someone who has never met a child. There are toy cars that actually have to be unscrewed from their packaging with a bloody screwdriver – whoever thought this necessary has never had a howling two year old clinging to their skirt.
If giving a present that needs batteries, I include a few with it.
I can highly recommend the Muji screwdriver set for just these moments. Buy a couple and keep one in a non-man place so you can always find it.
Emma this is a great tip
Playmobil – just don’t , but if you must make sure you build it first as its devishily tricky to build with a small child attached to you at the same time
Sue Madelin says
What is with those tiny flipping battery compartment screws? Whoever heard of a child opening the battery compartment and eating batteries????? Totally unnecessary and if you don’t have a glasses repair kit with a tiny sized screwdriver then you’re stuffed!
Esther, THANK YOU for this – I have just opened and checked the remote-controlled helicopter I am giving to my godson, and ta-da, no batteries despite oodles of guff about them on the packaging which I assumed meant they were within. I am also going to charge it before wrapping which takes 40 mins …. that’s a long time on Christmas day even at 11. Oh yes, tiny battery screw, present and correct.
Any hardware shop should sell a Draper Watchmakers’ Screwdriver Set – cheap and good, certainly better than one from a cracker.
My Top Tip: Bloody Marys for adults at present-opening, especially elderly and tiresome ones. They don’t need to see how much vodka goes in. Worked a treat on my great aunt who was a gorgon of highest order. Far fewer family members turned to stone after the BM became the new tradition.
Sophie this is a contender for best comment on The Spike of 2015 xx
Why, thank you!
I can also recommend starting a chimney fire to which the Fire Brigade had to be called at 9pm on Christmas Day when at the in-laws’. We are NFI this year, thank f***. And best of all, it was my husband who set the chimney alight. Perfecto.
Sophie intoxicates and/or smokes out those who would be against her. We like Sophie. Sophie can stay.
This is amazing – I’m using the word ‘gorgon’ for everyone I don’t like, from now onwards. Forever.
Make sure anything with a battery also has an OFF switch…the ruddy Zingzillas microphone (that still somehow hasn’t been binned) goes off every time I touch the box in which it lives.
If it doesn’t have an off switch, and you don’t hate the parents of the kid you are giving it to, I’m afraid you need to take it back!
Do presents the night before, i.e. Christmas Eve, German style. Then you get to see the full joy / horror without being distracted by what should be happening in the kitchen, and vice versa.
(Yes, this only works if you have everything ready in advance. When our kids were small we were usually still wrapping at 1 a.m. on the day.)
this is a deeply unsexy comment but i always make sure i have a black bin bag ready for all the wrapping paper (that some poor soul has spent hours sellotaping just to be ripped off by a fat toddler hand in two seconds with no regard for the just-so angle of the paperchase £3.99 a roll washi tape) and packaging shit to go in; together with a pair of scissors to break down the boxes IMMEDIATELY rather then next fuckin week which is when my husband would do it
I think I might be related to your husband
Did you go to the opposite of “a stitch in time saves nine” school too?
I went to the school of “kick it in a corner and do it later”
Soph (@dexychik) says
NEVER buy any child of you acquaintance a toy that requires FUCKING HELIUM to work. A noble gas it might be, but not one that I keep in my house. My eldest is autistic and only really likes Angry Birds, so some kindly folk got him these massive powered balloon birds. Hurrah, I thought, until I opened it and discovered they work via helium rather than magic. So, the kindly folk said “Oh, just take it up Asda and they’ll fill it for a pound” like I am going to then cart some giant floating Angry Bird down the road, risking it flying away and devastating my son forever.
They remain in the cupboard, in their boxes. Idiot idea.
I make my kids eat breakfast before they start opening presents, to try and stop them bingeing on Cadburys gift boxes and being sick by 10am. Truly, I am the ScroogeMother.
Remember where you hide the presents. I am still looking for an Elsa doll I bought in 2014.
Prevent boys from starting to build their new Lego set during unwrapping.
Buy exactly what your kids asked for (ie no wooden toys or books).
Baby’s love wrapping paper. It can be their only present.
Don’t buy the kids a drone. It stops working after about an hour.
So this is too late now, but maybe one for next year: check and refill your salt and pepper grinders before Christmas Day (assuming like me you have normal pleb grinders, not one of those posh pinch pots like Nigella. If I had one of those it would get full of crumbs and dust). It’s only a small thing, but at Christmas dinner crisis point the need to suddenly refill those bastards can mean the difference between a frazzled but ultimately merry chef and a screaming sobbing pan throwing pyromaniac.