There is much about the holiday shopping season that makes no sense to me. Why someone needs to camp out for a week just to get a deal on a TV — I don’t know. Why mothers need to push and shove to get their child that new doll — that’s beyond me. But one thing I really, really don’t understand is why anyone would purchase someone else’s child a toy that makes noise.

It seems like on every holiday there are toys that sing. They’re cute the first time you see them and the kids love them so a very well-meaning and loving relative picks one up. In our family, about an hour after the gift is given everyone is thinking of ways to distract the kid long enough to swipe it and shove it under a pillow or out a window.

The nice ones are the ones that allow you to turn them on and off or that have a variety of noises, but there are always some that only have one function and once you hit the button, you have to listen to the end.

I remember one Christmas someone in our family received a stuffed bear that when you pressed the button his nose lit up, he vibrated, he giggled a creepy little giggle and said, “That tickles.” This sequence repeated twice each time you pressed the button. We didn’t even like it, but we played with it, I think mostly just because we could tell how obnoxious it was.

That was OK, though. It was more of a joke than anything. The worst is when a young kid gets the toy — and they love it. No matter how many movies you put on or cookies you offer, they’ll never play with their nice quiet toys again. Once they’ve decided they like that song you’re going to hear it over and over and over again.

My 6-month-old is about to experience her first Christmas. At her age I’m fairly certain we’ll be able to control which gifts she actually gets a chance to play with, and which ones will head to the back of a closet or a donation bin as soon as we get home, but this is only the first of many gift-giving occasions to come. How long can we hold off before she gets her hands on something she won’t give up without a tantrum?

So as I’m preparing for this holiday and many more holidays to come. I’ll be filling stockings with puzzles and crafts and hoping others will do the same. When you’re choosing between the Barbie doll or the monkey that sings “Jingle Bells” — choose the Barbie. You never know, it could save a life.


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