23 December 2006

Assemble before you wrap

My friend Kristen of Motherhood Uncensored and Cool Mom Picks reminds us we can avoid the Ghost of Christmas Twisties:

Make some eggnog, grab some cookies, get the family together and make sure all the toys (for the folks who celebrate Christmas) are put together BEFORE they go under the tree. This way, everyone can enjoy their morning without having to touch one awful twisty tie or toy that requires at least four adults to open and assemble.

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How brilliant! At friend's kids' parties, often the children end up gathered at my or my husband's feet while we use our pocket multi-tools to free/assemble the new toys for play.

This idea would make everyone happier.

If you have already wrapped everything (overachiever), you can set out some handy tools to assist after the unwrapping:

-pliers with wire cutters (best for twist ties and zip ties- though scissors also work)

-knife to cut tape/boxes

-flat and Phillips head screw drivers (and probably a rather small Phillips head if it's anything with a screw closure battery door)

If you don't want to assemble the full toolkit and still have time to shop:

My pocket-sized Leatherman Micra does well with baby & small kids' toys (it has small screwdriver options), but for bigger kids' stuff- a full sized multi-tool (with pliers and wire cutters) really makes haste. Jim likes many of the available brands of larger tool, but most of gravitates toward a Swiss Army multi-tool these days.

He will not consider using any large multi-tool where the blades in use don't lock into position- too much risk of injury.

Okay, so there's something a little cool about kids watching stuff get put together, but those twisties...grr.

One more suggestion: have the batteries standing by so you can pop them in without having to dig through the garage in your PJs.

A little reflection from my youth makes me shy away from this practice ... while this might work well with the toddler and young school age set, once the child is old enough to form an opinion of "hey, this isn't what I wanted" - then a fully assembled toy is at best more of a hassle to return, or depending on the store/toy, at worst nonreturnable.

So - if planning to do this - make sure that the toy will in fact be one that will be sticking around.

(brought to you from either a) one very picky former kid, or b) a former kid whose parents sometimes picked some lousy presents)

Happy Blog birthday!

I agree Airwick. This is definitely for the toddler through elementary age child (or maybe not even that high).

Older kids can spend their time putting their own stuff together for sure.

putting stuff together on Christmas morning is one of my fondest memories. I wouldn't want to change that for the world even though it would speed christmas morning.

I love this!!! More playing and less mommy cursing on Christmas.

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