The Dark Side of Presents

We all spend a lot of time and thought on finding that “perfect gift” that the lucky recipient will be in raptures over and we do it numerous times a year for various loved ones. It’s exhausting! But no one mentions the ugly step-sister of the “perfect gift” – the “revenge gift”.

Depending on your commitment, the revenge gift can take longer and even more thought than the perfect gift. My eldest brother and I have been in an escalating arms race for several years. It started innocently enough (I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt) with oversized water pistols for the kids. It was a guerrilla attack that I wasn’t expecting, but chalked it up to panic buying in a pre-Christmas rush. The next year was Nerf guns for two still quite young boys. No 3 year-old needs access to a pump action dart firing machine. After my husband nailed me in the back of the head several times while laughing maniacally, it was game on. Needless to say, I was armed the following Christmas with plastic and lots of it for his kids, the bigger and tackier the better. He still one-upped me with a remote controlled helicopter for my six year-old, box stating in large letters “AGE 15+. THIS IS NOT A TOY”.

This last Christmas, I think I won – a remote controlled car/hovercraft/helicopter that had to be constructed first, served with a chaser of remote controlled hot pink Barbie convertible that required a C battery, which we all know cannot be obtained on Christmas Day. I don’t know what I can do to top that, except maybe a small pony.

The revenge gift does have the advantage of being amusing, but in this war the only winners are the children and the true casualty is the parent’s sanity. I think this year, it’s time to stop the madness. Also, I won.

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