Do you ever feel like the gifts you’re given are more of a passive aggressive snub then a present? Of course there’s the fattening rich food when everyone knows you’re dieting. The heavily perfumed soaps and lotions with a note, “So you’ll smell sweet all the time.” What does that mean? you think, as you sniff yourself. Or the gift certificate to “their” stylist when you’ve never shown any interest in their hair, at all, ever.

All of these are true passive aggressive snubs, but it is gifts to children that the real passive aggression can come through.

Messy gifts. Your three year old was just given a huge set of paints. Is this someone trying to encourage their creative side of your child or do they want to ruin your carpet?

Toys with small pieces. Your slightly OCD boy has been given a toy with lots of small pieces, many of them clear. You know have to check every dust pan and vacuum bag for missing pieces. Is the giver hoping to drive you insane?

Toys that make noise. I shudder even thinking about these. Now there are two levels: ones with batteries and ones that the child can make noise on continuously. The fire truck with real sirens that screech any times it’s moved, day or night. My eye is twitching just thinking about it. But batteries can be removed. Don’t let the giver win! Take those damn things out and just keep “forgetting” to buy more, never keep a stash of batteries at home, ever. After a bit, if you’re lucky, the child will forget it made sounds and just enjoy the toy. Then you win and the giver loses! Yes!

But what about the toys that make noise without a battery? The rattles, drums, rain sticks, and recorders? What then? Well it depends on the age of your child. Given to a child under six those, are weapons designed to drive a parent over the edge. What exactly did you do to the givers to make them hate you so much? An older child can be taught to play with those outside or in their rooms.

You can tell when the giver really loves you and is trying to encourage your child’s musical side. My parents gave my daughter a key board for Christmas a few years ago and sent headphones along that plug into it so we never have to hear the hours of practicing. This is how I know my parents love me.

So, as you buy gifts this year stop and think what message are you sending? Have you ever received a passive aggressive gift? Have you ever given a passive aggressive gift? Are you one who hunts for the nosiest child’s toy to give to that “special someone”?

For today’s song I give you Loreena Mckennitt – The Holly and The Ivy