A woman worriedly opens a present with a large red X on the side of it.

Declining Gifts

As Harry’s birthday is coming up, this means presents!! But this can also be tricky as there are a lot of products/materials that he can’t touch or be around. What is even harder is when someone buys Harry a gift. It can get pretty awkward, as sometimes he can’t accept it as it can cause harm to his skin.


Since Harry can only wear 100% cotton, clothing can be difficult to find that is 100% clothing and many people who are giving a gift don’t think of this. This also includes costumes, hats, shoes, roller skates, kneepads, and bags.


This is another trigger for Harry’s skin to flare. This has happened quite often where I have received flowers and have either given them to someone else or had to get rid of them.

Stuffed toys

Since soft toys are dust mites' haven, it is a major trigger for Harry to be around. If he had a teddy, I would have to wash it regularly and even freeze it to kill the dust mites. But as a parent of 4 kids under the age of 5 – that just takes too much time. Not only that, his skin reacts to most materials.

Hygiene products

Bubble baths, deodorants, etc., are a major no-no! Harry has very limited options on what he can use. This also includes moisturizers and creams. Obviously, anything that is scented can’t be used, but another factor is what is included in the ingredients. I have only found ONE body wash that Harry can use.

Sensory toys

This includes bubbles, kinetic sand, play dough, and slime. The ingredients in these products are harmful to his skin. He reacts instantly, and his rash can take up to a week to go away, even if he touches only one bubble.

Craft supplies

One of the worst materials Harry reacts to is wool. He also reacts to paints, crayons, and glue. There are some products he can use, but they are very limited. The products he can use need to be both toxic and acid-free.

What do we do when we receive these gifts?

As much as receiving gifts is amazing. Like, who doesn’t want a present? But most times the present doesn’t meet Harry’s requirements. So I have to either let them know that we can’t accept the gift, or sometimes I feel guilty we say thank you, and I have to get rid of it without them knowing.

What about my other children?

I have 3 other kids, so this is also for them. All of the things listed above can’t come into the house, as this is Harry’s environment. So, unfortunately, yes. This means none of my kids can have a toy such as a teddy. This one is difficult as my kids are 8 months old, 2, 3, and 5. So this is the age when they love stuffed toys.

My eldest daughter absolutely loves crafts, but quite often, I have to tell her she can’t have certain things. Thankfully she understands now, but I do feel bad for her. As I say, this is one of the many curses of having atopic dermatitis.

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