If you buy your kids presents that you don’t feel the need to steal back for yourself, you’re doing it wrong. Clever toy manufacturers make their products just as enjoyable for parents, so avoid all the fluff and look for the good stuff.
GuySpeed, for which I freelance, put together a guide for parents who say they’re shopping for their kids but really looking out for themselves.
* That giant plastic race track your parents would never get you. “It’s too big,” they said. “Too expensive.” “Your sister will choke on the small pieces.” Now they can shove it because you’ve got your own money, and you’re getting that track. Give your 8-year-old self a high-five and feel free to jump in and shove aside your own kids when they try to play with it, because they’re doing it wrong and you have to show them the right way to stage awesome races.
* Expensive action figures and vehicles from your favorite video games. Society may say your little ones are too young to play Halo, but why should that stop you from buying them a remote-controlled Warthog? Tell your son that Daddy needs to keep it on his desk at work to keep it safe from the dog.
* Ridiculously complex Lego sets. Ignore the whines of dread and dissatisfaction when your son opens up a box with the Millennium Falcon or Black Pearl on the cover to find a flood of tiny pieces. Tell him not to fret and that you’ll come to the rescue. All you need is a six-pack and several hours alone in the garage to put it together. You’ve just won yourself rare time to yourself in which you get to play with toys and drink beer, all in the name of good parenting. Meaning you’ve won Christmas.