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Souvenirs Parents Just Can't Resist

Taking the family on vacation is a special thing. It's a time for happy memories to be made. It means spending quality time and experiencing new things together as a family. And it means leaving enough room in the suitcases for all the crap you're going to bring back home. Because there are some things that we parents just cannot resist buying for our kids when we're on vacation. Here are all the ways we blow our hard-earned cash on stupid souvenirs.

Kids make us so sentimental, dammit. Do any of these look familiar to you?

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1. The amusement park ride photo

You know you've bought at least one. And you needed to buy it because THE LOOKS ON EVERYONE'S FACES! It doesn't seem so funny once you get the picture home and set it on the mantle. But you were sure a low-res photo of your family on a log ride with two complete strangers seated behind you set inside a loud cardstock frame would look so good on your mantle.

2. Anything with your kid's name printed on it

Personalized souvenirs are the best. The fact that it has your kid's name printed on it is good enough reason to buy a miniature Arkansas license plate or a pocketknife.

3. The paper silhouette portrait

Let's be real, does the silhouette portrait that the talented, nimble-fingered artist quickly cuts out while glancing up every now and then at your kid EVER really look like your child? Or does it always just look like a young human child of the same gender? It doesn't matter though, we'll take one for each kid!

4. The photo where you are superimposed in front of a famous landmark

You all laugh and laugh until you see the shocking price of ... $49.95 for a 5x7?!

After hasty instructions for one of you to lean far back and the rest of you to stretch your arms out toward the leaner, the flash pops off and VOILA you are about to fall off the Hoover Dam into the Colorado River and your family is trying to "save you." It doesn't look a smidge realistic, but it's always funny, and you all laugh and laugh until you see the shocking price of ... $49.95 for a 5x7?! "That is appalling!" you say as you pull out your wallet.

5. The pic where your kid poses with the parrot on his arm. Or the boa constrictor around her neck.

And it's taken in a place where that parrot or snake would never naturally be found. They are just the pets of some dude in a pirate suit. But then you see your kid wearing a big ass snake around his neck. Forget it. You can't pass that shit up.

6. The souvenir shop T-shirt

Because you haven't been there unless you have a T-shirt to prove it. And also, they are always buy two get one free.

7. Getting corn rows for your daughter in the Bahamas

And also for yourself. And your mother-in-law. And your long-haired nephew. It's a cool look. Hard to resist. Not sure anyone can.

8. The souvenir cup

You know, the one with the giant Buzz Lightyear or any other character sitting on top and costs more than a case of Capri Suns at Costco. Also it never fits in any cupholder, is awkward for your kid to carry and is heavier than a large geode. You have at least three of them in your cupboard taking up space, making you so mad at yourself.

9. The generic teddy bear wearing a shirt that dons the name of the place you're visiting

I can't pretend that my daughter doesn't have one of these bears in her room that is wearing a T-shirt that says Long Beach.

10. The personalized Mickey Mouse ears

You'd be a dream crusher to resist buying these.

11. An oversized pen that says the name of the place you visited

Or some other janky toy, like a yo-yo or clapper hands, that your kid just has to have. It's all right though because it saves you from spending more on something more expensive, like a hoodie or stuffed animal. But it will definitely break within four to six hours of buying it and lead to a tantrum and the purchase of another new souvenir, so do that cost-benefit analysis.

12. The magnet

Ah, the magnet souvenir is a favorite as it's relatively inexpensive and doesn't take up much room in your bags. At one point you had the idea to cover your fridge in magnets representing every place you've ever been. That ended when you realized that the magnets welcomed fridge door display of your child's art. Goodbye, magnets.

13. The traditional cultural outfit

Your daughter may get to wear that traditional Peruvian dress made from Alpaca wool on cultural appreciation day at school, but it's likely that she may never wear it any other time.

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14. Miniature figurines

Yes, your 8-year-old needs that mini Eiffel Tower. It's the only thing she's ever wanted. Until she gets home from vacation and sets her sights on real toys like American Girl dolls and My Little Ponies. That mini Mt. Rushmore that was a real must-have will be set on her dresser next to the mini Statue of Liberty and mini Golden Gate Bridge. And honestly, she will never even notice when you throw them out.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Flickr/Barney Moss

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