Giving thoughtful gifts is hard. You really need to know your audience and be able to read the situation. You don't want it to be awkward like the time my early-70's aged uncle gifted his wife raunchy lingerie and sky-high platform heels in front of several generations of the family. Let's just say it was a mixed reaction. The elders were humiliated, the babies didn't get it, some of the other adults found it hilarious and unnerving to imagine; and then there was my mother. My mother was moved to tears by how "beautiful" it was that he still thought his wife was sexy enough to strip for him though they were in their 70's. After she was done crying she kept trying to subtly ask whether their health insurance was up to date in case she fell or he got too excited. I love my mom.
Or maybe you're not worried that your gift will be awkwardly received. Maybe you're up for a little bit of merry mischief? Maybe you're tired of that one aunt who keeps mentioning what a beautiful face you have and how pretty you could be if only you were a little bit taller or maybe just thinner. (People can't just get taller, tia! That's not a thing!) Maybe you'd like to find a way to let someone know how you really feel - in gift form!
Let this article be the gift-guide you never knew you needed. You're welcome.
Reading Is Fundamental
A book on how to fix a quality you don't like about them. Like "How not to be an idiot for dummies."
Death By Cake
My husband's uncle and aunt don't like each other so they would try to outdo each other with how garbage their gifts could be. Years of crappy dollar store gifts culminated one year when she gives him a home made Christmas cake, knowing full well he hates Christmas cake. The next year, he dealt the killing blow when he gifted it back to her. He kept a homemade cake for a full year and gave it back
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the hero we deserve.
I tip my hat to him.
Clothes that are clearly the wrong size. Not like hideous clothes, normal clothes.
My cousin is exhausting and is constantly bragging about how men comment on her beach Instagram photos, and how flat-tummy tea has done wonders for her, etc. Last year another cousin got her a dress that was 2 sizes too big and played totally oblivious while the self-absorbed cousin tried to not have a melt down about someone thinking she's a size 8. It was passive-aggressive gold.
"Over Cinnamon French Toast"
One of the best passive aggressive gifts I've ever given was to my aunt, who we will call Elise. She's known as the diva of the family, and she lives up to it every year. Usually my grandmother makes Christmas brunch/Thanksgiving dinner depending on the occasion, and in my lifetime Elise has thrown tantrums at six of these entirely based on food choices. A couple years ago at Christmas, she was sitting at breakfast and smelled cinnamon French toast being fried in my grandmother's skillet, and the theatrics began. She hates cinnamon, and she ended leaving the house and offering to come back in a family group text under the condition that all the windows be opened and an exhaust fan be placed in the kitchen window. Over cinnamon french toast.
Last Christmas, I went to Bath and Body Works to get little gifts for everyone and I found a heavily cinnamon scented hand soap. Perfect gift. The look she gave me when she opened it was priceless.
The Cookbook Joke
My girlfriend has a cousin who has one of the most stuck up, self important food blogs I've ever read. I'm talking paragraphs and paragraphs before the actual recipe where she talks about her day like anyone actually cares. The kicker is that she's actually pretty bad at cooking, which makes it even worse. Every year my girlfriend gives her cookbook for beginners. I don't think she's gotten the joke yet.
Just Trying To Help
My dad gets this nasty white build-up on his tongue...well for one XMAS I thought it would be funny to gift him a Tongue Scraper. He wasn't very happy or amused by it, and threatened to beat the sh!t out of me in front the rest of the family. 10/10 would gift again. My brother thought it was hilarious ¯\ (ツ)/¯
My mum's step mother bought my mum a cheap carving knife one year. Not a set. Just one single cheap knife. My mum had to sit there with her knife while her half sisters unwrapped new phones and expensive jewelry. I don't even know if it was passive it was kinda just aggressive.
Interesting, because some superstitions say that gifting someone knives will "sever the relationship" between the giver and recipient. My mother tells the story of her mother in law demanding a penny from her on her wedding day so she could give her the knife set my parents wanted in good conscience. I'd definitely say your Aunt was being aggressive...
The Tacky Home Decor Method
Don't get a bad gift card because it will reflect more poorly on you in front of your family. Get a tacky large painting or vase and then when you see them next, ask to see where they displayed it.
With tacky home décor, you can talk about how you thought of them when you saw it and how good the quality is. That way you come across as being thoughtful and they can't really bitch to the rest of the family about how bad it is without seeming ungrateful.
Don't Punish The Kid
Exactly. The perfect passive aggressive gift for a small kid is a cheapass RC helicopter. It-
•Chews up batteries like nothing else (if you get a really cheap sort. More expensive ones have boring rechargeable batteries)
•Annoys the parents, cos that thing is going to be flying into walls all around the house and beyond.
•Will make the kid happy, so you don't punish the kid for having an ahole for a parent.
I had a proud Daughter of the Confederacy for a step-grandmother for quite some time.
Every Christmas, she'd give my step-brothers and step-sisters gifts worth many hundreds of dollars each: dirtbikes, ball gowns, belaying equipment for rock climbing. And each Christmas, she'd give me a card with $5 inside.
Every year, I donated her $5 to the NAACP in her name.
Every year, they sent her a little thank you card.
Brows On Fleek
My ex mother in law once got me tweezers.
The Big Gift
We used to have Christmas with my mom's side on Christmas Eve. For a couple years in a row my aunt would use this opportunity to give me a "big" gift before my parents could. My first "expensive" computer game (the Sims) and even my first cellphone. I don't know if she ever actually cleared this with my parents, but we didn't see them for Christmas much longer after that happened a couple years in a row. Since I was a kid at the time I didn't pay attention to their interaction and was just excited for gifts. Now that I'm an adult I realize my aunt was using me to be shady.
I once received handwritten COOKING tips from an in-law for Christmas. It was hand presented to me by another, obviously uncomfortable in-law. Really had to keep my face neutral for that one. These tips literally included things like, "Measuring when cooking is science, not art!"
No, the gifter was not old - she was in her 20's. That was next level passive aggressive.
I asked for cologne one year, my Mom got me deodorant.
My creepy uncle gave me those thigh reduction wraps that don't work.
I was fucking pissed. I was young and not a big girl.
What an asshole. I got my revenge last year when I had to drive him to his brother's funeral. "When's your turn?" is exactly what I said when he got in my car.
My mother in law is an insufferable b*tch.
I "forgot" to put her Christmas card in the envelope this year.
Worth the stamp.
My brother got me a shirt that says "world's okayist brother"
My mother once gifted me an entire setup for diabetes testing. I put on a few lbs that year. So probably that.
This year, my grandmother followed the old tradition to give an orange for Christmas.... except that she's really cheap, so she used clementines, and she only had 3 left in her fridge, so I received a lemon instead.
My grandma, who lives with me and my family, gifted me a tablecloth last year. I don't own a table.
What's the best passive-aggressive gift you can think of?