Random Musings

Christmas Gift Guide: Revenge Edition

The holiday season is upon us and I bet you’re doing the American thing–dropping tons of cash on clothes, electronics, and cheap plastic toys…all made in China.


Inevitably this time of year you see list upon list of gift suggestions. Best gifts for men. Best gifts for women. Best gifts for kids, teachers, pets, teacher’s pets, mailmen, hairdressers, baristas, and random strangers on the street. But, I’ve always felt there was a list missing. Have you ever wanted to buy a gift for the child of someone you know? Someone who you really need to seek revenge on in a passive-aggressive way? Well, look no further, Erin is here to help you.

Top 5 Gifts To Buy For the Children of People Who Piss You Off

1.) Musical Instruments

Do you see that baby sized drum set? It's made of evil.

In the true spirit of Christmas, musical instruments are gifts that keep on giving: headache after headache after headache. The thing is that musical instruments are generally good for the development of young children. And kids love them. So your friend or family member will have to be all, “Thank you so much, this is really great!” as they pop that third Advil.

If the child is older, you might consider a full-blown drum set.

2.) Toys with a million-bajillion pieces. Especially little pieces.

Who doesn’t love Legos? A mom who has stepped on one barefooted in the middle of the night (SEE: Legonavigate). That’s who. And if she’s never experienced that, she’s sure to curse your existence (or bemoan what she ever did to you) when she has to pick them up everyday. And fish them out of the DVD player.

3.) Anything with the name SAND in it.

Moonsand, a.k.a. Evil Dust

Call it what you want: Moon Sand, Play Sand, whatever. Buy it at the store or be a hippy and make it yourself. Moldable sand is evil. It’s SAND. That you play with INSIDE. And it’s a little wet so the kids can make sand castles or whatever at the kitchen table. There is no doubt in my mind your friend’s child will LOVE it. But your frenemy? He or she will have to sweep it, vacuum it, clean it from under fingernails, out of hair, and will have to scrub the bathtub after their child takes a bath. It’s kind of like glitter in the sense that it can never really be cleaned up completely. Your friend will find bits of it everywhere, even days later. Mwahahahahaha.

4.) Noisy Electronic Toys

It might be small, but it sounds JUST like the real thing. From the convenience of your own living room!

Bonus if they don’t have an off or volume switch. Just to make sure the toy gets maximum mileage out of the noise, be sure to stock it with fresh batteries.

5.) Sugar

Maybe you don’t have a huge budget for revenge. Or maybe you’ve got to ship said item cross-country. No problem. A box of candy will do the trick. This idea could also be used as an add-on to any of the above gifts. After all, what’s worse than an annoying toy? Annoying toys plus kids on sugar highs, that’s what.

The beauty of all of these gifts are that the children involved will genuinely love them. So their parents can’t really say anything other than, “Thanks.” They may silently curse you in their head, but you’ll never hear it. Mission accomplished.

Just be careful. Turnabout is fair play and Christmas is an annual thing.


303 thoughts on “Christmas Gift Guide: Revenge Edition

  1. lmao, brilliant! When my kids were small we kept asking the in-laws for drum-kits as xmas pressies for them and NEVER got one! (asking for them worked brilliant as a tool for making sure we didn’t get noisy gifts! hehe) πŸ˜€

    • I received the bulldozer I pictured here as a gift for my son from my older brother. After living with it for a while I asked my brother, “I must have given your kids something atrocious to deserve this.” He said, “Yep!” πŸ™‚ My son loves it, of course.

  2. This cracked me up! My best friend bought my son a light-up sword that made this “whoop, whoop!” sound at decibels that would break Nigel Tufnel’s eardrums. I gave her a really hard time for that purchase, and then proceeded to buy something equally annoying for her son when his birthday rolled around. She’s not my frenemy, of course, but it was funny all the same. Great gift ideas, Erin.

  3. My mom is queen of buying kids noisy toys. She thinks it’s funny. I don’t have kids – yet, ever… not sure – so I’m a bit fearful of when that day comes.

    I’ve tried to be mindful of these things when I buy for the kids in my family. I try to buy more books for my nephews since they have so many toys already.

    • I think BIL’s kids might be getting Moon Sand in the near future :).

      The thing is that I LOVE the theory of Moon Sand. My son really likes to make sand castles and it’s hard when you’re not at the beach. But the clean up is worse than play-doh.

      • I live in the desert. Kids want to make sand castles I send them into the backyard with a hose, LOL

        My sister created a bean box for my special needs nephew when he was younger, my kids loved it too. Basically, she took one of those under the bed plastic bin things and filled it with raw pinto beans. Kinda like playing in the sand but easier to clean up. We’d spread a sheet on the floor and put the bin in the middle. They could measure and sift, dig for buried treasure, etc. It was great. Obviously not for small children likely to swallow the beans but an option for inside “sand” play.

  4. What happens when you have to buy ALL those gifts for your OWN kids like we did? I guess we are spiting ourselves!

    Congrats on the freshly pressed. I envy you and will be sending you an entire rock band to play on your lawn at 2 am.


    • I have purchased all of these gifts for my own kids myself as well, it’s how I know :).

      Thanks so much! (And if the rock band is going to gather on my lawn, could they bring some rakes for the leaves?)

  5. Now this is a list! Love this idea…and as a parent of two toddlers, the sand idea is the worst I think. That stuff is like a cold sore, it never goes away and keeps showing up!

  6. Great passive aggressive gift list! haha Can’t wait to stimulate the economy with some of these!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!


  7. You’ve nailed it, great post! I’d like to add:
    The Discovery Store – purveyors of “Build your own volcano” and “grow your own tadpoles” type kits. (Oh, the people who invented Moon Sand are deserving of nothing less than water torture)

    • LOL! I have avoided any bugs/tadpoles/butterfly growing/housing so far. I’m sure it’s coming, for now I’m going to hope they never realize those exist (I don’t do so well with the creepy-crawlies).

    • And don’t forget the bead kits and other craft kits that have all the downsides of things with small pieces, but turn up everywhere for years to come. I just helped clear some old boxes out of my parents’ house, and we found enough beads in the corners to make a very dusty bead necklace.

  8. I SOOOOOOO Totally LOVE this. Utterly hilarious, and convicting all at the same time!! I am guilty of purchasing musical instruments for my grandkids more for THEIR enjoyment, and sometimes MINE… I have an xylophhone secretly stashed in a bagful of toys that come out when they come over. I must confess there are times the xylophone is “mysteriously” NOT in the bag! πŸ˜‰

    • I secretly like the musical instruments…most of the time :). My son made up a pretty rockin’ version of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star but substituting words like Dinosaur and “They will eat me”. All self-accompanied on the toy piano. πŸ™‚

  9. We have friends with children the same ages as our (all now into their 20’s) and we would compete to see who could give the most obnoxious toy. The year they gave us the super deluxe laser gun with 27 Realistic Sounds,we gave them a foam brick with a noisemaker inside that sounded like breaking glass. They had a huge plate glass window and we made arrangement with their 10 yr old son to say “It’s a STUPID BRICK!” and throw it at the window when he opened the present.

  10. When working for a particularly obnoxious kitchen manager the staff chipped in and bought his daughter a pair of tap shoes for her eighth birthday. He tightened up his act after the holidays.

  11. Haha, great list. How far down were gift cards that force the parents to take them shopping during gift return season? Especially if they have more than one kid and the cards are for different stores. πŸ™‚

  12. Great post. I always think of buying things that are useful for learning. Learning that I believe is good for today and future. Moreover, I like to know what the children really need at the moment. I have known children or families who did not open some of their gifts and others who could not remember what they had bearly some days after the holidays.

  13. I’m not sure if I’d be the person I am today if my mom had taken this approach. I think the best gift would be a sound-proof room to go along with the musical gifts πŸ™‚ Great post!

    P.S., Moon sand (or any ‘sand’) is indeed a tool of immeasurable evil.

    • My kids love the musical instruments and I like what they mean–creativity, entertainment that’s not TV, etc. The tinkering on toy xylophones can be headache-inducing though :). It’s great that your mom was so supportive of what you love/do!

      And yes, glitter is also evil (though my son LOVES it, I’m sure my daughter will too when she’s old enough)

  14. I desperately wanted a drum kit for Christmas pretty much the entire time I was growing up and believed that Santa thought I’d be an awesome chick rock drummer. Alack, it never happened. I got a keyboard… and an acoustic guitar, and figured my parents didn’t know the difference between musical instruments. My mother later told me, after I’d purchased my own kit in my late teens and was taking lessons, that they tried anything not to have to listen to a drummer practicing in the basement. And so it goes…

    • Haha! That’s too funny. But great that you stuck with it anyway :). I played the Clarinet myself and my brother played the trumpet. I think my parents probably kept a stock of aspirin during the beginning years.

  15. Congrats on FP!
    Great post– though those legos are so fun.
    You can add chemistry sets, ant farms, gold fish, and fingerpaints. Just some of the gems I remember the kids getting as gifts.

    • Ha! Well, if you’re friend’s daughter is anything like my son, she’ll love it. Just offer to buy your friend a drink sometime and all will be well πŸ™‚ (or chocolate, in case a drink is not her thing).

  16. My dad got me a drum kit the year my parents divorced…I could never understand why because he was always the one so set against it….Now it all makes sense!

  17. I recommend a fish in a bowl. It will probably die, making the child have tantrum after tantrum. If the creature lives, the parents will still suffer, changing the water, feeding it and removing the food the fish didn’t eat.

    Lots of fun! The younger the child the better.


  18. I love your list! So accurate!

    The first toy I bought for my brother’s daughter was a really annoying talking Elmo. Imagine hearing that laugh for hours on end. Stab me in the eyeball.

  19. Ha ha! I have just done the christmas shopping for my boys this year and Lego was high on the list. I have to say that I am one of those parents that is happy to buy things for my kids that other parents consider terrifying. Last year one got a drum kit and the other a keyboard and now I am trying to convince one of them to take up electric guitar, so far without success. I alleviate the trauma of noisy toys etc by calling out ‘that is starting to get annoying’. That is my code for ‘if you dont stop that racket it goes in the bin’. They know I will, so they stop. I am fairly lenient though and happy noisyness is far preferable to ‘I’m bored’ whining!
    The only present I can’t stand is glitter. Glitter glue, sprinkles, even the glittery gift bags. It gets everywhere!!….aaarrgghhh!!!
    Congrats on FP πŸ™‚

    • Thanks!

      My brother played the electric guitar when we were growing up (well, he still does). He practiced for hours and hours and hours. Which, you know, yay for dedication! But having the room next door to him was not always awesome.

      I’ll have to get a keyword for my house too.

  20. Brilliant. And true. I’ve received all of these and probably given some myself. (Apparently in a latent passive aggressive way I didn’t realize!)
    You can add to the list- Polly Pockets and those dancing, singing character dolls- Elmo, Mickey Mouse, etc…you know what I’m talking about!
    Merry Christmas!

  21. Hmmm, now what should I think if a “friend” buys one of these for MY kids? I guess I’ll know I’ve done them wrong somewhere along the way, eh?

    Found you on Freshly Pressed — your About is wonderfully honest and very familiar to mine! Hopefully your blog is scratching that itch for you like mine does for me. Enjoyed reading your posts…

    • Well, I’d need a flow chart to answer that :). Like 1.) Does the person have children? No–> They didn’t know any better, file info. away for when they do. Yes–>Have you given them something noisy in the past?–>Yes—>It was payback No—>Have you made this person angry?—>Yes—It was payback No—>They didn’t know any better…. πŸ™‚

      And thanks about the About page. The blog is definitely helping. Best of luck with yours too!

  22. UGH!! I still unfortunately work in retail and have to deal with each one of those toys you mentioned. From that experience, the most annoying toy to give for the children of people who piss you off would be that terrible Singing Elmo Doll. It would drive the parents batshit.

  23. Oh, my! This was a winner, for sure! This was priceless! I shall make note of all five suggestions and follow accordingly! As a parent and grandparent, I KNOW what you are talking about. I have been there so many times it’s not even funny!

    Thank you for a good smile tonight! Stay well…. and enjoy Christmas.

  24. That orange CATERPILLAR is the best >:-)
    Small, sturdy, diligently noisy as long as the batteries are working like what u said.

  25. That’s a great list. I think the trick would be to give the sugary candy along with the drums so the kids go on and on for hours. Nothing like hyperactive sugar-fueled kid-drumming to drive people nuts all night.

  26. The sand toys are evil, indeed. I gave my goddaughter some glittery sand stuff before because I thought she would love it. She did, a little too much. Her room was always a mess after I gave her the gift. Too bad I didn’t have revenge plans at all. But yeah, it works!

  27. I laughed at this as I used to do this to my sister and sister-in-law! As a note we went to a party where a friend of mine was er follically challenged! My friends children took great delight in poking fun at a man with thinning hair. My friend decided not to stop the children and in fact encourage them. Once there was no-one around the children got a supply of red bull that was beyond belief!!!! wide awake at three in the morning AND projectile vomiting!

  28. LOL!!! I was laughing so loud at the Lego and noisy electronic toys! This list is just great! πŸ˜€ Classic and will never go out of date.

  29. This blog post made me laugh out loud! My sister gave my son a harmonica for Christmas one year- that and some tiny Legos-ha. (she has young children now so I’m having my chance for some loud toy “pay back”)


  30. Hahaha… this is awesome. However all the items listed are all the items I’m always getting my 2yr old. Am I my own worst enemy? My son actually has a full proper drum set already. Sometimes his toys that have no off switches go off in the night for no apparent reason – that can make me dilly!

    At least the sugar is something I keep under control!

  31. Nothing signals that you are pissed off with someone quite like the gift of a saxophone for their eldest child. If you really want to drive the message home, get the younger kids harmonicas.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed – I’m looking forward to future posts!

  32. This was a great read because I’ve had these very same thoughts. you could also add to the list anything that is swingable like a lightsaber, made of either foam or plastic, sports equipment made for indoor use or any aim n’ fire toys/weapons. Nerf darts, ok; Nerf balls, ouch; Nerf arrows, INCOMING!!

  33. This was a running joke with my family when our children were young – who could give the “most frustrating to the parents” gift. I have a million pieces of Lego (no instructions to be found) and a Marching Band set – a drum, cymbals, xylophone, and kazoo thingy all in one that a child can wear (drum major hat included) will marching around the house. Sadly it was made by Fisher Price so it more than withstood the test of time and several children (oh did I mention the maracas????).
    Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

  34. Be careful, I read somewhere that payback can be a bitch when the kids get older — I can’t give props because I can’t remember who tweeted it, but somebody said they’d get back at the people who gave these gifts by giving the gifter’s teenager’s condoms and cigarettes. Also, for kids who are not quite old enough, give those make-up kits and shorts with writing on the butt for girls. Ha!

    • Yikes! I’ll have to play my cards carefully then. More passive than aggressive, I think, is the key.

      Though I DID get my niece make-up one year. I’m pretty much doomed in the future, aren’t I?

  35. a very inspiring post Erin! I know that many people are sruggling with gifts now! today i’m going to some london market’s to do interviews! let’s see what they are going to buy!

  36. It’s very entertaining and really nice ideas! I have some married friends with their bunch of babies that are pretty nagging about the fact that some of us are still single…ohhh the joy to give their babies these presents πŸ˜€ Thank you!

  37. Cuidado with this whole revenge thing—it can turn around to bite you in the rear.

    For example, if you give someone’s kid a drum set for Christmas they might turn around and say how wonderful the gift is and that it should really be kept at your house, so the kids can play it when they come and visit.

  38. Hilarious. My son is a drummer, and yes, we do spend a lot of money on the set – it is awesome!In fact, every time I go to the drum store, I have to stop myself from buying all the cool cymbals and everything else!

    For Christmas, our 1.5 year old nephew is getting a set of tuned tubes – it is about $20.00, and it is a great way to start him on drumming πŸ™‚

  39. OMG, I went into a craft store with a teacher friend of mine and saw that wet sand stuff you pictured, it’s evil fun! Thank God my children are grown, I can’t even imagine having to clean that stuff! Ha, ha, ha! My sympathy to parents these days!!!! Great blog!

  40. Erin, not only is this hilarious, but I now know exactly what to get my nieces and nephew! What could possibly be better than a drumset made of pure evil? Great post!!

    • Thanks :). I’m glad I could assist in your shopping this year. Of course, now the cat’s out of the bag–if I get MY nieces and nephews any of these gifts, my siblings will know what’s up :).

  41. I’m actually shopping for a drum set to give to my nephew. haha!!

    Also, play-doh is another excellent revenge item… especially if the household has carpeting!

  42. What a rotten person you are! πŸ˜€
    ** rushes to the shops to buy all of ’em**
    congrats on being FP’d! It’s well deserved.. x

  43. After having four of my own and many grandchildren, it is a special delight to me to show the kids how to make their very own, kazoos, coffee can drums, maracas (water bottle+pebbles).
    You don’t have to wait until Christmas, with the gift of imagination you can get even all year long.
    Peace (but not quiet)

  44. Hahaa this is a brilliant idea. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, you deserve it with this post! I feel for the parents of all the people who aren’t on Erin’s good books this year ha- have a great Christmas, Joe

  45. Haha this is excellent. I just started teaching ballet to little ones this year (I’m 20 & never really worked much with kids before)…so I can now understand the truth & hilarity of this post. Sugar is a HUGE MISTAKE if you want children to behave πŸ˜‰

  46. Well,This Christmas is something very special to me becoz am going to enjoy with my Brother and family. i want to Gift him something Special. Am in search of that thing. can U say any of gift for my brother.he is 16 yr old.

  47. Here’s how to be the “cool aunt” and be an even bigger b**ch than karma to your siblings, all in one fell stroke….

    First off, avoid anything that needs batteries so that it won’t be broken too soon. You forgot things like whistles, harmonica, cymbals, xylophones, and even the “holy grail” – Band in Bag (Toys R Us) etc. The toy tool bench is another great one.

    If you can’t find those, make sure you teach the little darling(s) about battery sizes and that the TV remote is an awesome source of double AA’s. Then you can safely purchase the toy electric guitar, drum set, the synthesizer t-shirt, or sneakers with sound effects (yes, clothes can make noise now *evil grin* ) are all fine choices.

    If that doesn’t work, go for finger paints, markers, crayons, pastels, and other art supplies. Those precious little angels need a creative outlet. Maybe on Mommy’s dining room wall….

    Dress up sets that include things like swords, pop guns, light sabers, etc. are also awesome as they encourage a lot of creative play that’s sure to annoy parents. Particularly if they have more than one child who can fight

    Failing that, some of the toys that “learn” can be great fun. If you start now, you can probably teach them some interesting words and/or habits before popping them back into the box. My personal favorite was reprogramming the Teddy Ruxpin.

    Then and only then do you go for the “small parts” like the Lite Brite, the 1 billion piece set of Legos, Lincoln Logs,

  48. Our two neighbours both had hyperactive children…. together they would spiral wildly out of control. Why did one of their parents think a trumpet was a good idea !?

    I asked Father Christmas for a baseball bat..

    P.S. I don’t play sport . . . . .

  49. That’s a great strategy for acquiring items for re-gifting. Teach your kids to be annoying, make sure to expose them to persons obligated to give gifts, and then use re-gifting to cut your Christmas expenses down, down, down. Could you post a few tips on how to make kids annoying? I think Winona and I are utter failures at this side of things. But we’re always looking to improve.

  50. Extremely humorous! Reminds me of something off cracked.com. I can remember my own mother being pissed when I was a kid if someone bought me some kind of loud, cheesy, electronic instrument.

  51. Some lovely person decided to buy my brother a tigger phone last christmas. Not only was it insanely noisy, but the nice people had designed it without an off switch…

    Needless to say it is no buried in the bottom of the toybox wrapped in a cushion.

  52. Yes, you’re right, revenge is sweet. But, payback is a bear. When my kids were little and well-meaning folks bought items such as you’ve mentioned, they were the first toys to mysteriously “lose” their batteries, etc. A very funny blog. Keep up the great work.

  53. I have given most of those gift items to the children of my ex-sister-in-law over the course of several years. (She was as annoying as my ex!) I was always careful to include extra batteries for the electronic toys. Wouldn’t want the torture to end prematurely, would we? Hehe.

  54. I am cracking up. I hope you don’t mind, but can I put a link to your post on my holiday post? I think it will be great for my gift ideas section. Let me know! Thanks!

  55. Great post! There is also the wonderful world of trains,and wooden tracks. Buy a smallest started set you can find, the kids get HOOKED and the parents are the unfortuante souls that have to fork out the pricey dollar amount on the tracks..they are incredibly expensive! I thank my sister-in-law for that.

  56. One of my sister’s schoolmates used to really piss her off, so instead of our parents doing anything, she did it herself. She was around 10 at the time.

    She bought the girl a toy lawn mower. Next thing we know, her mom’s carpet is in little tattered pieces. My sister hasn’t forgotten that, and her schoolmate’s mom is now afraid of lawn mowers.

    Good times.


  57. I have 3 of #4, the tonka trucks, you press a button, they start up and shake and bang and then drive and make a big noise, all three of them going at once literally sounds like you are outside standing next to a dump-truck that just started and is revving its engine!

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  59. Now THIS POST should be FRESHLY PRESSED! Hilarious and Brilliant! So basically anything loud and/or messy will do. Thanks for the ideas =)

  60. I have totally done this! The louder the better and the more small pieces the better. Problem is, I think a few people have done this to me on purpose. Like, they ALL know my absolute dislike of Playdough. That crap gets dried out and crumbs all over the floor. And no matter how hard you try to keep the kids in the dining room, they always seem to get it smashed in the carpet! My kids seem to get this every few years. Am I a frienemy? I had no idea….hahahaha

  61. Pingback: Holiday Gift Guide (Continued) « Hndbff1999's Blog

  62. Brilliant! Reminded me of the time I got the mumps. I was in my 20’s and one of my “friends” got my daughter a sand-filled balloon and a police car complete with siren! I wanted to smash both but was too sick to move.

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  64. hahaha yes you’re right! Loved your post on the subject.
    I did one too “A weird Christmas wish list from a young man”.
    Check it out if you have time, I would love it.
    It’s pretty special I guess from a 18 years old young man but I think you’ll understand my point of view.

    Nice post once again!

  65. Oh my heavens! #2 is my absolute pet peeve. No matter how many times I beg and plead for family and friends to NOT get toys for my kids that come in a billion pieces, inevitably there’s always at least one under the tree. And more often than not, it’s the same person giving them. Maybe he’s trying to tell me something? 😦

    Just wait until you have kids, buster! Revenge is a b**ch! >:-D

    Great post!

  66. Can I make a suggestion to improve number 4. Not only make it noisy, but make it one that makes noises of a monster and give it to a three year old. Who is then terrified of it, and bursts into tears every time some one presses a button, or walks close enough to set off the light sensor. Boy does that create hours of fun! (Personal experience, my son was the 3 year old) Weird how it ended up at Good will really quick.

  67. Very clever, but I think it could be expanded beyond children’s gifts…bad cologne, ill fitting clothes, unsolvable puzzles etc.

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