When Kids Hate Their Presents-A Letter From My Children

Dear Mom-

You were right. This Hanukkah thing isn’t half bad. Sure, we had a hard time with the “We’re Jews so we don’t do Christmas” rule you randomly made despite living in a city filled with bacon loving, Christmas tree decorating Jewish people. We love when you stick to the letter of the law, making life a lot less fun.

But in all seriousness, this year Hanukkah was amazeballs, at least in theory. 8 nights of gifts, woot! It’s like the present mother lode, or so we thought. In fact, this year’s Hanukkah started with us both feeling like we’d won the present lottery. Lego night, oh yeah! What a way to start off. If the first night was Lego theme night complete with GIANT Lego gifts sets for us, we eagerly anticipated the next seven theme nights and coordinating gifts.

And you did not disappoint, at first.

And then came Night #4, book night. We still get a queasy feeling, remembering that fateful night when you said that night’s gift theme was books. “Cool,” we said, “But what will our presents be?” we asked.

“Books,” you said with a surprisingly happy look on your face like you weren’t even joking.

We asked again, what our gifts would be. Again you replied, “Books.”

And then you handed us each a tragically flat, heavy square package, which turned out to be books disguised as gifts. That’s when we reminded you that books aren’t gifts. Books are things you read in school because you have to. Toys are gifts. Books are punishment.

But somehow you got it into your head, just like that time you decided we should have family food theme nights and you included vegetables in that theme, that books were an appropriate gift for two children who aren’t in trouble. And so, because we are spectacular children, we let you have your book night. We graciously said, “Thank you,” even if we didn’t mean it.

So we approached Night #5 with enthusiasm. The anticipation was running high in the house all day. We had figured out that you had disappointed us with book night as an intentional trick to disappoint us into thinking the rest of Hanukkah would be equally as bad. Then you’d reveal what we really wanted. Maybe we’d finally even get that pony!

We suddenly began to feel badly for having called you the worst mom in the world, to your face, when you handed us our books on book night. We never would have said that, to your face, if we had known the books were just a ploy to get us to think we weren’t getting anything else good.

But, then came science night.

We can barely hear the words without trembling like an earthquake victim who always feels the world shake.

Science night.

The words reverberate in our heads. The aftershock of pain long lasting.

“Tonight is science night” you said like a cruel, cruel joke.

Unless Legos, Hello Kitties, Chubby Puppies and spy gear count as science, than we aren’t interested. But we remained optimistic, figuring you didn’t want to ruin our lives. You’re our mom. Your job is to make us happy. And you would never, ever be so naïve to think science night would make us happy unless science night meant videos games and our own Ipads.

But you handed us our science night gifts, somehow thinking we’d be like them. And you were shocked when we started to cry.  And you were angry when we said we wanted to go live a better family, one whose mother understood the definition of the word “gift” meant things that are fun.

So you threatened to cancel the rest of Hanukkah, at which point we agreed that you should.

See, presents are meant to be fun. And while we like school while there, we don’t have any desire to have school wrapped up in blue and white Hanukkah paper and given to us as a present.   A gift means something we like, like a cell phone, Barbie doll, or unicorn. The word gift should never include anything that can make us smarter, no matter how fun you think it is.

So Mom, while we love you so much we don’t love your gift theme nights. We feel like we’re being punished. So go ahead and cancel Hanukkah. We’re not sure we can live through history night, cooking night, or whatever other gift themes you’ve decided we night enjoy. Because truthfully Mom, the only gift theme night we’re interested in is fun. Haven’t we suffered enough?

Your Kids

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