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Top 10 Passive Aggressive Presents for Parents

By Jaime Morrison Curtis |

Baby showers, holidays, and birthdays offer up prime opportunities to give gifts that keep on giving… in the form of loud noises, ridiculous messes, and feelings of confusion and bewilderment from the poor unsuspecting parents. We’ve all received them – those presents that seem to say “I love you” while subtly communicating otherwise. The kind of gifts that make children swoon with joy, and make their parents say “gee, thanks.” Please share the most passive aggressive gifts you’ve given or received in the comments, and find out our Top 10 Passive Aggressive Presents for Parents after the jump…


10. Window Markers

Why the kids will love it: These markers are designed for scribbling all over a formerly forbidden coloring zone – windows.
Why the parents will hate it: Umm, windows don’t clean themselves.

9. Moon Sand

Why the kids will love it: Sculpt brightly colored sand into adorable treats for hours upon hours of arts & crafts and pretend play fun.
Why their parents will hate it: Hours upon hours of picking-it-out-of-the-carpet fun!

8. Multi Voice Changer

Why the kids will love it: They can say “GIMME CANDY” in 10 different voices!
Why their parents will hate it: Their kids can say “GIMME CANDY” in 10 different voices.

7. Ball Pit Balls (with no pit)

Why the kids will love it: Tossing, throwing, and rolling in balls all day long.
Why their parents will hate it:Two years later, they’ll still be fishing balls out from under the dryer, behind the fence, and tangled in bushes.

6. A Well-Titled Parenting Book like Parenting Your Out-of-control Child or Your Kids Are Your Own Fault

Why the kids will love it: You’ll be such a better parent to them after you read one of these tomes!
Why their parents will hate it: You read the titles, right?

5. Ultra Stomp Rocket

Why the kids will love it: Future astronauts jump and stomp with glee to send the rocket 200 feet into the air
Why their parents will hate it: “Sorry about your window Jim… again.”

4. Smoke Balls, Stink Bombs, or the amazing Bomb Bag.

Why the kids will love it: Kids love practical jokes, gags, and stinky stuff.
Why their parents will hate it: Just the message they wanted to send to their future arsonists.

3. Disney Fairies Water Dispenser

Why the kids will love it: FAIRY WATER!
Why their parents will hate it: “What are you doing in there sweetie?” “I pour fairy water mama! I make magic fairy floor!”

2. Kid’s Drum Set

Why the kids will love it: Nothing makes a kid happier than banging out mad rhythms.
Why their parents will hate it: Nothing makes a parent happier than the sweet, soothing sound of drums.

1. A Puppy

Why the kids will love it: Duh.
Why their parents will hate it: Duh.

So, what’s the most passive-aggressive present you’ve given or received?

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About Jaime Morrison Curtis


Jaime Morrison Curtis

Jaime Morrison Curtis is author of the book Prudent Advice: Lessons for My Baby Daughter (A Life List for Every Woman), founding editor at Prudent Baby, LA Kids Editor at DailyCandy, and mother to three-year-old Scarlet Jane. Read bio and latest posts → Read Jaime's latest posts →

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47 thoughts on “Top 10 Passive Aggressive Presents for Parents

  1. Naomi says:

    Oh man…. my in-laws… 2 of the uncles got together one Christmas and bought my (then 3-year-old) son the biggest, most obnoxious foam dart gun nerf has to offer (ages 8+). He couldn’t even lift it then, or load it… he and his younger sister mostly chewed up (and at least once, swallowed) the darts for fun. And don’t get me started on how the uncles and grandpa feed our kids more candy than actual food when they’re around…. I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. Till they start having kids – oh, revenge will be sweet.

  2. Siobhan says:

    Someone gave my daughter moon sand and I straight up gave it away. I was very much not interested in that. I disagree about the window markers, however. I think they are great seeing how I have big sliding glass doors. The marker comes off easily, the doors have to be cleaned anyway (eventually) and it is hours of virtually mess free entertainment!

  3. Mollie says:

    My mother-in-law was offended when her children were younger her sister-in-law gave my husband, and his sisters Nickelodeon Slime one year at Christmas. Her sister-in-law’s reasoning was that each year for the past 3 Christmases my mother-in-law had given all three of her girls sparkly scented powder and puffs & each year they made huge messes. My mother-in-law still fails to see why this powder such an awful gift and each time she re-tells this story, I think in my head, “you totally got what you deserved.”

  4. Stephanie says:

    My brother in law gave my son a jeep power wheels for his first birthday. It was hours of UNenjoyable time of me trying to hit the pedal with my fat foot and my son screaming and crying to make it. “go go mama go go” gotta love the in-laws!

  5. Dakota says:

    Well it isnt a present.. But whenever we are outside and the neighbors bring out popsicles… They always always unwrap on for macy (16 months old) and givie it to her… Countless times she was wearing something i made for her.. And then it gets popsicle drippings on it. And then she rubs it in. Into her hair and her skin and her clothes.. I end up having to do another bath and washing the brand new skirt/dress/shirt/pants/whathaveyou and yea.. They arent sugar free popsicles!! And theyre sticky!! So i end up needing another shower too. :( lol.

  6. W. says:

    Genuine maracas from “all the way from” Mexico. When the handle was pulled out (they were clearly not constructed to withstand the vigorous playing of children), they were full of gravel and dust. Wow. Thank you.

  7. jamie sanders says:

    Very funny and oh-so-true…

  8. Ellen says:

    Eh, the Stomp Rocket isn’t so bad. They’re made of foam, like Nerf things, so they won’t break anything. Actually the bad part is getting them out of the neighbor’s yard, off the roof, down from the tree…

  9. Becky says:

    Um… You know those massive fairy-tale books (400 pages+, hard bound)? They weigh a gazillion pounds, which makes holding them up with a kid on your lap impossible. IF you can find the story your kid wants out of the 30 in the book. And some of the stories are true to the Brothers Grimm roots, so you’re doing a lot of changing of the story on the fly, because you’re not up for telling your 2 year old about the hunter splitting the wolf open to get grandmother out.
    Guaranteed, that will become your LO’s FAVORITEST book ever.

  10. Stacy says:

    We actually just received #7 (the balls less the pit) for my daughter’s 3rd birthday…thanks

  11. Elly says:

    Someone gave us Moon Sand once. We played with it one afternoon and then plop into the garbage it went. And I’m all for artsy fartsy messy stuff. We have glitter and paint and all that, but Moon Sand has glitter beat for the most obnoxious impossible to clean up stuff ever. (However the authentic sand that sticks together that you can get at the Children’s Museum in Atlanta is AWESOME and no where near as evil).

  12. Erika says:

    We had Stomp Rockets. No problems whatsoever. I don’t think they’re anywhere near powerful enough to break a window! Take them to a park or the backyard–no problems!

  13. Barbi says:

    My husband is famous for getting his sisters’ kids horrible presents. Think parakeets and hamsters and slimy frogs. Nothing like giving a gift that costs money to maintain. But the all time favorite (most horrible) was when he gave out a case of Bubble Yum to each kid. His sisters still fume about that!

  14. Mary Anne says:

    I had children 5 years before my older brother. He gave my kids gifts like complete sets of Play Doh (evil, evil stuff to get out of rugs!) and countless need products. When his first son was born, he got the loudest, most obnoxious toy fire trucks and police cars along with Legos in the smallest sizes possible (more to clean up). I felt bad for my sister-in-law, but it only took one year for my brother to see the error of his ways and give appropriate gifts.

  15. Anne says:

    hahaha. When my children unwrapped the package of eight jillion ball pit balls from their aunt (my SIL), I turned to my husband and said, “wow. I had no idea she hated me so much.”

  16. Sarah Stewart says:

    My 5 year old received a ton of that Moon Dough for Christmas and his birthday (2 weeks apart) from my sister (no children!). We let him and his friend play with it on the table and I actually prefer it to Play dough. Whatever is left on the table, I scoop into a bucket for reuse later and whatever hits the chairs/floor gets swept up and thrown into the trash. :) My floors have to be swept 3 times a day anyway because of the baby who thinks it’s hilarious to decorate the floor with cheerios.

  17. Jennifer says:

    My brother has given several cars that make loud siren noises, one is so sensitive that when you walk by the toy cabinet it goes off and it has no off switch. But I am happy to say he is expecting his first child and I can not wait to return all those cars now that my boys have out grown them.

  18. Jodi says:

    So much from MIL – I sit there on Christmas morning and as presents are opened, say to myself, “Not going to play with that…not going to play with that…not going to play with that…”

  19. Jess Guest says:

    Six+ years of parenting, five children, I have stories. I remove the batteries of all noise making toys before the children play with them now after going almost insane with car alarm style noises and “music” blaring at me. There is the large bag of foam shapes given to my three year old son that I had to “disappear”. The delicate ornaments that get given to my daughters – because we have masses of room to store such pretties in our renovators delight and I love dusting – NOT! The various pop up gimmick “books” with various bits to lift (rip off), pull (rip off) and turn (rip off) and children who are devastated when the said gimmick breaks. The remote control car given to my three year old who can’t run fast enough to keep in range of the remote control and who doesn’t have the ability to work out how to use it but desperately, desperately wants to – age recommendations are there for a REASON people. The wrist watch given to my three year old at the time – because it is fun to clean up a busted watch (we put it away and gave it back to her when she could tell the time, this year in fact, she is six and a half now.)

    *sigh* I do love that my children have so many people who love them though and I have tried to at least DIRECT the love by starting an online wish list for each of the kids. We’ll see how it works.

  20. Stevee says:

    Oops… I totally bought you those window markers! I swear I wasn’t trying to be passive aggressive!

  21. onemotherslove says:

    My vegetable garden is full of sun-faded balls from last year’s Halloween party.

  22. Nikki says:

    My aunts had a competition to see who could buy the kids the most annoying toys when we were little. One of my aunts bought me Hot Sticks (the drum sticks that make loud obnoxious noises without actual drums… speakers included) and my sister a Spy Kit (with battery operated listening/recording devices included)! My mother was less than thrilled that year!

  23. Cindy says:

    What a great idea! My boys are going to spend the weekend with MIL. I’ll send along the Moon Sand!

  24. Elle says:

    Parent showed up on my front door with a bunny and all of its stuff, cage, bedding, food, etc without asking!! We were living in an apartment then too! I immediately turned them away without my kid knowing what happened.

  25. no name, no town, nowhere says:

    Birthday gift consisting of an entire plastic carnival for tiny toys to play on. Awesome concept once I saw how much fun it was it moved, it lit up, its music wasn’t super annoying. But it came with I think a few HUNDRED tiny pieces – tiny candy; tiny ice cream; tiny popcorn; tiny accessories and lids that were never on. Given at a birthday party by a mom who knew I had trouble getting the kids to clean up after themselves and who also thought (knew) we had too many toys already.

  26. Diera says:

    Stomp rockets are AWESOME! We have loved ours, and I have given them as gifts many times. The rockets aren’t heavy enough to break windows (they’re usually just foam or cardboard) but it’s easier to find them if you use them in a field anyway.

  27. Danielle says:

    I always give loud stuff to kids-batteries included…or xylophones!

  28. Christy B. says:

    I’ve started to request no toys with batteries for my boy because I’m trying to be “economical” :)

  29. Emily says:

    My sister got my son a marshmallow gun a couple years ago for christmas…not only did I have to spend the next week dodging flying marshmallows I got a nice sticky mess too. I always look for the most annoying loud toys I can find for gifts cause someone has to get them the cool things their parents won’t ;)

  30. Tara says:

    When our daughter was little, my ILs bought her Polly Pockets. Those dolls are TINY and she didn’t have the manual dexterity to take the clothes off or put the clothes back on them. So who did it? Me. Another IL actually gave us the first book, “Parenting Your Out of Control Child” one year for Christmas. It was all I could do to keep from throwing to back at him. Our daughter is FAR from out of control.

  31. Beth says:

    Well, my in-laws have started running every toy by me before they give it. Lesson learned in oldest child’s first year. Now my kids just get a lot of toys that *break* (i.e. have their batteries removed after kids are in bed) just after receiving. Almost all are just as fun without me wanting to gouge my eardrums with an icepick…

  32. Cyclonemomma says:

    My BIL and SIL gave my daughter maracas, and my son a wooden bench with pegs that you pound on, flip over –> pound on, flip over….

    …..two weeks after my third was born. Doh!

  33. Stoich91 says:

    This is sad. Hilariously sad. But I’m voting thumbs up for window markers, too. You live in a house with kids, no? Grimy sliding glass doors don’t clean themselves; give yourself a good excuse to clean them and your kids something fun to do while your (trying to) vacuum all that lovely moon sand off your $500 Ikea rug (or Persian rug? But srsly, who lets their kid play with moon sand over Persian rugs…that’s the true ‘doh moment ;D).

  34. Allison says:

    This is why whenever I am asked what my oldest daughter wants for Xmas/Bdays I simply say “books” (preferably used), because they are the only thing you can’t have enough of. Most of the plastic, sparkly, noisy crap gets played with once and forgotten about, so why bother?

  35. Laura says:

    These may not sound so bad, but they are in their own way. My inlaws bought my son battery controlled helicopters (not cheap ones) for his birthday and they were cool for a couple of days, but they are difficult to keep them up in the air, are very delicate, etc. I put them up on a shelf and my son has forgot about them. Then, for Christmas they bought him a race track with battery controlled cars. Again, not cheap. It was cool for a bit, but it never quite worked, the cars kept running off the track, and the track is pretty delicate. What am I supposed to do with this huge thing in our limited space? If we take the track apart, we’ll never get it back together, but there isn’t enough room to just keep it out all the time. Ugh… I know those things seem really cool, but they are just not practical gifts.

  36. michelle says:

    Received: Teletubby videos. Need I say more?

    Given: The Kritter Keyboard by Vtech. I gave it to my niece, and she almost killed me. I guess there’s only so many times you can hear “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” before you go nuts.

  37. Becky says:

    My sister and I used to compete to see who could get each other’s daughter the MOST obnoxious Barbie. Favorites included “Peeing Cat Barbie” complete with litter box cause who doesn’t love those things, “Pooping Dog Barbie” to which you fed a pellet of fake dog food, it emerged as poop, and you re-fed it to him, “Asphyxiation Barbie” which was this bizarre blue-skinned fairy barbie with wings. It was awesome until they outgrew Barbies. Now I never know what to get that girl.

  38. Jessica says:

    My family got my son a ride on toy that sang music every time he made it move. There was no off switch!! Yes, it helped him get around, but he would have gotten around anyway. It was so very annoying!! But the bonus- whenever they came to visit we let him ride it into their room to wake them. Paybacks!!

  39. Beth says:

    My sister ALWAYS gets my kids noisy, obnoxious toys. A few years before I had kids she actually told me that she only gives obnoxious toys to people she doesn’t like. When I commented on that, she told me that she was only giving my kids these toys because they are “educational”. Yep, because my 19 month old (6 months at the time) really needs a fake laptop that sings obnoxious songs. Sorry, but putting the word “educational” on them doesn’t make them something my child NEEDS!!
    I keep telling my husband I’d love to send her kids home with something like a drum, but he keeps telling me to be the bigger person. Ugg, sometimes it’s more fun to be the immature person.

  40. Amanda says:

    The most horrible gift has been those flashlights in the shape of different animals. They squeeze the handle to make the mouth open, light turn on and make the obnoxious animal noise. My daughter is the proud owner of a cow and a tiger. I’m going mental. Fortunately the cow batteries are almost dead, soon to be added to the cemetery of “boken” toys. Mwahahaha

  41. Jillian Burns says:

    How about Baby Alive!!! My sister took my daughter shopping and not only came home with baby alive but extra diapers and extra food A LOT of extra food. Somehow though all the food disappered. I can’t wait till she has kids payback will be so satisfying.

  42. SteffMarcusky says:

    The gifts my mom gave were just not age-appropriate, not necessarily bad. At the first Christmas, she gave him a set of those velcro ball catchers, because she knew he couldn’t catch a ball, but forgot that part about how he didn’t have the dexterity to hold the catcher, either. By now most of the gifts are fine, but that I had to hold on to things for 3 years until he could play with them is what irks me. However, she’s gone now, so her gifts can keep on giving. But she was just amazing at not understanding age appropriateness. . .

  43. nmcdnyc says:

    Those books! That beard! It’s like parenting advice from Dog the Bounty Hunter. As for noisy toys… silence is golden…

  44. JJ says:

    For us it was a Barbie for a 1 year old. Seriously? Who do they think was going to dress it over and over again? Not to mention the shoes and all other choking hazards. Barbie got tucked away within a day and didn’t see the light of day again until it was age appropriate more than 4 years later.

  45. Judi says:

    We always find the loudest toys for new parents to have LOL I agree Moon sand is Horrible. I swept it up off the floor for weeks. Eventually I swept it into the garden I have moon sand in my garden in technicolor! It never sunk in. I totally disagree with the stomp rocket its like a nerf toy, NO broken windows but SAD kids when they get lodged on the roof where it stayed LOL! We just didn’t have a ladder for our townhouse long enough.
    You missed the most obnoxious toy ever! Those punch balloons with balls inside!!! OY! I had to send them to their rooms to play with it. “BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!” like a drum but everywhere!

  46. Ginger says:

    My sister sent my kids an annoying duck game. Basically little plastic ducks go round and round quaking and you try and match the colors and shapes. My daughter was 2, and it would just quack and quack and the sound it made as they rotated. My sister has kids…wtf? I never bought them noisy annoying toys. She told me her kids, “love that game and play it all the time.”

  47. Mary says:

    Both brothers & I were at our grandmother’s house for a family reunion. The elder brother brought his wife & 3-4yr old at the time son. We all went to a local carnival that night. My youngest brother & I ended up going around together & pooling our prize tickets to get something for the nephew. We laughed as we chose the one toy that made the most noise, knowing it would annoy our brother endlessly. Karma must have had it in for us that night, because the nephew insisted on sleeping with auntie & uncle that night. Turns out that noise toy wasn’t quite as funny as we thought it was….. :)

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