10 Birthday Presents Guaranteed To Piss Parents Off

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 

You didn’t ask for this.

You could have had a perfectly relaxed weekend afternoon. Or you could have done any of those 600 household chores looming over your head. You could have gone to Target, or taken a hike, or returned that sweater you’ve had sitting on your dresser for two weeks. But instead, you’ve hauled your brood to some sports complex/bouncy house nightmare/Chuck E. Cheese’s. Or even worse, you’ve driven to someone’s oh-so-perfect house with a telltale balloon bobbing from the mailbox.

You know that bitch has Pinterest. You know that party has an oh-so-twee theme, complete with banners and hand-iced cupcakes. You’ll be forced to socialize with people you’d never pick as friends, simply because your kids are the same size, and this will last for at least two hours of awkward, forced conversation. And even if the party is the drop-off variety, your kind hostess will return to you a child cranked up from overstimulation, hyped up on red dye number 4, and clutching a goodie bag full of junk you’ll step on in the middle of the night.

Basically, birthday parties suck. Repay your hostess with these birthday presents from hell.

1. Nerf Gun: This present is guaranteed to annoy siblings, pets, and parents alike. But you can’t pick just any Nerf weaponry. You can go for the one with the tiniest, most dartlike foam arrows. These will scatter throughout the house and get lost, piece by squishy piece. Or you can be a total asshole and buy the gun that only comes with three arrows, virtually guaranteeing the dog will immediately chew up two of them. How important were those weekend plans?

2. Kinetic Sand: Nothing says “I want you to die” like a $24.95 indoor sandbox, complete with molds but without any form of containment. Oh yes, kinetic sand’s fun to play with. But it sticks to everything. It gets into every crack and crevice you didn’t know your table had. And when you buy the colored kind, you’re promising that their house, like a subway station bathroom, will never really be clean again.

3. Fake swords: Swords are good for one thing, and one thing only: hitting people. You can make rules about swords only hitting other swords. But that rule will be broken, and quickly, leading to tears and possible bruising. The other parent will be forced to confiscate it. Total meltdown will ensue. If you’re feeling really mean, buy one of those lifesize double-bladed Darth Maul lightsabers, which are approximately seven feet from end to end and made of hard plastic. It’ll barely fit in the living room.

4. American Girl Doll: You have to really hate that other parent to shell out this type of dough. This is a good passive-aggressive present for that bitch sister-in-law who always humble brags at family gatherings. The doll seems like a magnificent, amazing, oh-my-gosh-you-shouldn’t-have present. Until their daughter starts begging for all the super-expensive, crazy accessories. Dolls need outfits. And beds. And doll-sized ponies that cost only slightly less than real ponies. They’ll have to dip into the college fund to pay for the damage you’ve wrought.

5. Things that Beep Loudly: Take your pick. Target’s full of infant and toddler toys that make loud, repetitive sounds at the touch of a button. You can even disguise your hatred in the form of a hug-demanding Elmo. One can only withstand the chipper, monotonous tones for so long before insanity sets in. That parent will curse you as soon as the present’s opened, perhaps aloud.

6. Musical Instruments: Not into plastic electronics? Go old-school with a harmonica, an ocarina, or even a recorder. Or try an electric drumset. Buy that Casio keyboard you pined for in 1988. The sonic results of your present can drive an entire household bonkers. And they can’t very well get openly bitchy, because it’s educational. Don’t forget the wooden drumsticks!

7. TOOBS or other plastic collections of tiny stuff: They’re small. They’re legion. And they’re both impossible to clean up and agony to step on. Pieces will get lost, possibly leading to meltdowns. If you’re looking for a cheap way to vent your rage, this is it.

8. WWF/WWE Masks: What do you do when you dress up as a wrestler? You wrestle shit. Probably younger siblings, pets, or random passersby. You work on your bodyslams with the couch cushions. You leap off furniture while roaring insults. It’s like handing kids a mask of antisociability.

9. Ball pit and balls: Another your-house-will-never-be-clean present, these doom parents to constantly leaning over, picking up, and throwing countless flimsy plastic balls into a never-deep-enough enclosure. Balls aren’t just for lounging in. Balls are for throwing! Balls are for dumping! Balls say, “You ruined my weekend, jerkface. Now pick up another made-in-China plastic sphere.”

10. Art sets with beads and/or glitter: Beads spill everywhere. No matter how careful you are, no matter what precautions you take, you end up sweeping them. They’re a panic-inducing choking hazard if the birthday child has younger siblings. And the glitter … they call it craft herpes for a reason. Glitter’s the gift that keeps on giving. They’ll be finding glitter while they’re paying college tuition. Best for parties where the gifts are opened after the guests leave, or else you may be preemptively punched in the face.

This article was originally published on