Adults are no fun.
My lengthy Christmas shopping list is dominated by children, most of whom are under 10 years old. Lots of babies and lots of toddlers.
And, yet, there's this warning—not always unspoken—that you get from some parents who want nothing to do with any gift that makes noise, has flashing lights or could shed glitter.
Or anything messy, like paint. Or anything with little pieces that you can step on, like Legos.
It's one thing to request an age appropriate gift. (I'm not going to buy the board game Risk for a 2-year-old, because she could choke on the little soldiers, and because she lacks the cerebral maturation to fully grasp the global ramifications of her strategic invasions. And I don't want either on my conscience.)
But it's quite another thing to essentially give us a read-between-the-lines "do not buy" list that sucks the fun out of toys.
That's what they're supposed to be: fun.
They're toys. The good ones make noise and bounce and fly and knock over your precious vases and get glitter in the crevices of your dining room table.
They play songs on repeat. Songs that, over time, slow to a creepy, warped tune befitting a horror movie about a possessed child or an evil clown doll.
I don't have kids. That's probably obvious by how easy it is for me to say, "Stop being a fuddy duddy and let your kids play with the obnoxious toys."
But they're only kids for a little while. Before you know it, they'll stop clinging to your leg and start ignoring you because you're embarrassing, no matter how cool you think you are.
Instead of them waking you up pre-dawn with excitement about peeking at what Santa left under the tree, it'll be you waking them up at 11 a.m. on Christmas Day to force them to participate in the family tradition of breakfast and opening gifts.
So let them get paint on the kitchen counter and drive remote-control police cars down the stairs, sirens blazing. They're kids. They have their whole life to be adults.
Most of my shopping is done, and, frankly, I heeded the warnings and loaded up on puzzles, dolls, action figures and clothes for the young 'uns.
But the day I come across a flying, glitter-filled bouncy ball that plays "She'll Be Coming 'round the Mountain," when it's dunked underwater, I'm going to buy every last one off the shelf.
Vanessa Renderman covers health care for The Times. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.