Housewarming gifts are the perfect way to make someone's new living space feel more home-y. But sometimes, petty people use this gift opportunity to make a statement. Whether their pettiness is justified or not, it's certain to cause drama for the new homeowner.
Content has been edited for clarity.
Digging For Gold
“A former pretentious, disingenuous, stuck-up & haughty co-worker of mine announced her engagement. She was very obviously money-motivated by this sudden arrangement. She wasn’t fooling anyone in the office, but no one would have been so impolite as to let on what they actually thought. To my great surprise I received an invitation to her housewarming, however, the whole department did. She’s maximizing her gift haul, I remember thinking to myself.
She was moving into his very large & grand home & not the other way around of course & the grounds had beautiful rose gardens which she glowingly described to us.
About a month prior to her event, I had overheard her telling our receptionist (a dear friend of mine) some fibs (I’ll call them to be kind) about her interactions with me at work. She outlined having to confront me about some issues, and her admirable actions resulted in my admission of guilt & my begging her forgiveness. The issue I had with her story was that it 100% fabricated. The event never happened. And I told her as much in front of several amused co-workers when I announced myself as being in the room with her when she said this but out of her line of sight. She was visually shocked & flummoxed at being caught & called out on her attempt to make me appear poorly to colleagues. She ran after me & hugged me with an ‘apology’ that we had had a ‘misunderstanding’ as this was as far too towards guilty as she was willing to go. I had said my peace already, so I didn’t need to say anymore & I allowed this transgression to be water under the bridge. The receptionist & I had great laughs over this, as we often went to dinners or drinks after work discreetly.
I guess I must have remembered this event when my co-workers & I shopped for something nice for her new home. Recalling her rose gardens, I decided to invest in an appropriate garden implement to help her keep them looking their very best. I got her a golden shovel.
Although I did consider purchasing the ‘Garden Weasel’ rotary tool, I felt that the’Gold Digger’ was really the most appropriate gift. Several staff didn’t contain their laughter when I presented it & let her know I thought of her as soon as I saw it. To her credit (or perhaps mine?) she accepted it quite graciously & we all had a very pleasant evening.”
Have Fun Lugging That Around
“So my sister-in-law is a piece of work. She’s constantly setting up Go Fund Me campaigns for house projects, vacations, sperm to start a family, etc. She’s just…. exhausting.
So one year, she gives me a rock for Christmas. And I open it, and I’m like, ‘Oh….cooooool….’ And she goes on this ten minute speech about how she slept with the darn rock to give it her energy and ‘help guide me’ and tells me I’m supposed to sleep with the rock, too, so we can become ‘closer.’
So the next year, here comes another Go Fund Me, this time she wants to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail.
Now, I’m broke: I’m finishing a Master’s degree, I have a new baby, etc. I’m not giving her money for her ‘finding herself’ vacations.
But I do decide I want to give her something.
So at her vacation kick off party that she threw herself (not joking), I brought her a gift that I put a lot of thought into. I told her I wanted her to take it with her, for safe keeping, to remind her of her family waiting for her safe return from the great state of New Hampshire.
And I passed her a 15 lb slab of granite from my backyard.
And dead faced, told her I wanted her to carry it in her pack for her trip because it had good energy in it.
The look: priceless.”
Those Aren’t For HIM
“I used to work in a hardware store. I got a variety of various benefits that included free rentals from the store, free use over all the appliances in the store, free keys made, and steep discounts on all the merchandise.
On a separate, more personal note, I have kind of an… interesting family. Half of them live in Michigan and are almost always in various troubles, and who has to go and solve their issues? My dad. He’s become sort of like The Dad for the whole family. So whenever anything goes wrong he has to spend 6 hours on the phone and or make a trip up there to breathe in the foul stink of that place to try and solve their issues.
I’m sure we’ve all got a family member or two like that, right? At least some of you can relate.
Anyways this time it wasn’t the usual suspects needing help, it was my aunt. Apparently the toilet of her trailer just died and has been leaking all over for weeks and was rotting something away, I wasn’t paying too much attention to the details, but my aunt was trying to do everything herself but she:
a) Didn’t have any tools
b) Didn’t have any know how
c) Her husband didn’t know anything either
So it was basically just a perfect storm of useless waiting to blow over their house.
My dad having worked for 3 months straight with no weekends off saw this as an opportunity to get some time off, get some time with family je never sees or hears from and solve an issue all at the same time. Win-win-win.
So I decided to help as well.
I went into work the next day and got a bunch of tools every household should have. Few different hammers, couple different saws and file sets, 3 packets of various nails, a small electric drill with a variety of drill bits, couple screwdrivers of varying sizes, some wrenches, some adjustable wrenches, good sturdy duct tape, a level, some pliers, just your generic household kit pretty much. But I made sure to get the PINK kit.
Now you’re probably going to ask, how is that a passive-aggressive gift? It seems quite helpful actually! To which I’ll respond you’re right, but the kicker is that my aunt’s husband is useless all the way. He doesn’t have a job or has had a job within the entire time I’ve known him, he doesn’t help around the house or discipline their kids, he doesn’t know how to fix anything or even necessarily do anything I got them a bright pink feminine looking tool kit because I know that SHE was probably going to be the only one doing the work anyway.
Apparently I was wrong, though. My grandpa and dad both said he was strangely motivated to get the toilet working again and even though he went about it in a strange sort of manner, he apparently was adamant about doing it himself.
With his bright pink tools and tool case.”
“I don’t know that you would consider it passive-aggressive or not, but when my son and I were displaced due to a hurricane a few years ago, we moved around quite a bit. We were in search of a place to plant roots and call home.
One of the places we found ourselves, was a small residential community that consisted mostly of elderly, semi-retired, and retired couples. The community was close-knit and friendly for the most part.
At first, being apprehensive of our new surroundings, we kept to ourselves. However, some residents expected otherwise. They seemed to be very welcoming for nefarious reasons that were yet to be revealed. It was through my interactions with these characters, that I would meet some of the kindest, most down to earth, people on the planet, proving that good can come from bad.
I was and still am a single mother. I had made it abundantly clear to everyone in the community, that I was content with being single and that my only focus was raising my son and doing what was best for us, despite our circumstances. That did not involve meeting, dating, or becoming involved with anyone romantically. I was adamant about this. However, that did not stop one of my neighbors from wanting to play matchmaker.
Shortly after moving in, I began finding bags of groceries on my doorstep, daily. The bags would always contain the same items, opened quarts of 2% milk, boxes of raisin bran, and cans upon cans of whole pitted prunes. Attached was a note that simply said, ‘Harry.’
Now of course, I was puzzled by this and told my son that these were apparently groceries intended for ‘Harry.’ To which he replied, ‘Well, whoever he is, he must be backed up pretty bad!’ We laughed and put the prunes and raisin bran in an empty cabinet. By the end of the week, that cabinet was overflowing with prunes and raisin bran. I never saw anyone leaving the bags at the door. They never knocked on the door, they just left the bags and the note that said, ‘Harry.’ I asked one of my neighbors about it and she said, ‘Oh Lord!’ and started laughing uncontrollably. She kept trying to say she knew who it was, but her laughter kept her from completing her sentence. I think back on that moment now and get tickled.
When she was able to finally compose herself, she explained that the neighbor I spoke of before, that sought to play matchmaker had told a man named Harry about me and my son. He had apparently given her a book to give me about the constellations having heard that I liked astronomy and was ‘smart.’
However, I never received the book because my friend had taken it from the matchmaker and had been reading it for herself. When she showed me the book, inside was his name and number. I guess from not hearing a response from me, he thought putting prunes and raisin bran and 2% opened milk on my doorstep in 90° weather every day would probably increase the chances of me giving him a call, maybe?! Maybe it was a semi-passive aggressive housewarming present?!
I’m still puzzled as to the why of it all, but I did get to know him to some degree and although we never ate all those prunes and raisin bran, nor the milk because it was spoiled and open, I am grateful to have met him and everyone there. I will remember the time that me and my son spent there forever.”
“Well I didn’t receive one, but I can share a story with you.
As new tenants were moving into the house, the landlady decided to gift them something as a housewarming gift. But she had no clue that the housewarming gift would be labeled ‘passive-aggressive’ by the people going through the pictures of the gifts. The landlady made a hamper filled with the goodies for the new tenants.
The landlady even shared a picture of the goodies that she put in the basket to make the hamper online on her social. The caption of the post read, ‘A house-warming gift for a new tenant to help keep our renovated unit in good order.’ The pictures posted online showed what all was included in the housewarming gift.
The gift included a toilet bleach, sponges, air freshener, cleaning spray, toilet paper, wash basket, and clothes pegs. It also included a pack of chocolate biscuits to keep the spirits high of the new tenants. When the post went live, it had mixed reactions to it. Some appreciated it, while others got offended by it.
A person commented, ‘Hope you left the receipt, so they can get a refund on this passive-aggressive hamper.’
Another piped in, ‘Yeah, now every time they clean they are going to feel your presumptuous judgment of their cleanliness. I’d chuck it all out, so it didn’t make me mad.’
But one person explained the meaning and kindness behind the gift hamper and replied, ‘They want to make sure you have something to eat on your first few nights as moving in is a big task. That’s nice.’ Surely one cannot have everything on the first night and even if they have, it is difficult to find everything and unpack the very first night. Another person chimed in, ‘Cleaning products? No… rude.’
Some others stuck up for the landlady and wrote: ‘I would be so thankful for this as a tenant!’
A second said: ‘As a renter, I would appreciate this. Sometimes when starting off, these items can be expensive trying to purchase all at once, or not knowing what products are best to use etc.’
Another replied: ‘Such a good way to get the tenant on the right side and have them want to keep the place looked after for you, well done.’ Well, you cannot expect what others might think of your gifts or gestures. But it is important that whatever you do, you do it with a good and positive feeling.
Anything done or gifted should be done in such a manner that it should not hurt the other person. And you should not have any ulterior or negative motives for doing it. All should be done with positivity, peace, and love.”
“Oh no, I fear it may have been ME that gave the passive-aggressive gift. It was not explicitly a housewarming gift, as they have been in there house for a few years, and my intention was not to be aggressive, passive or otherwise. Still, I remember the look on my sister-in-law’s face and I still feel bad about it.
My brother and his wife’s bath towels were just sad. They were REALLY old, tattered, and some had holes in them. A few were like drying off with sandpaper.
So, I hatched a plan. I would buy them new fluffy towels and tell them I got an amazing deal at Target, bought more than I had room for, forgot to return them within the return period, and thought they could use them.
The look on my poor sister-in-law’s face when I handed her this giant bag of new towels. Ugh. She saw right through my ridiculous plot, but graciously accepted them anyways. I thought she would be thrilled, but it embarrassed her instead.”
Center Of Attention
“When this dear friend and her husband bought a holiday home, her mother-in-law gave her a lovely framed series photos from my friend’s wedding as a housewarming gift. Lovely… until you realise that nowhere in any of the photos could you see my friend’s face. She’s there, in the background, or turned to the side. However, the mother-in-law was front and centre in three out of the five photos. Her husband starred in one and her sister-in-law in the other.
That is the single most passive-aggressive gift I’ve ever seen, housewarming or no.”
“It was my eighth birthday.
What I wanted: A big red Piggy bank that was around 3 dollars. A $10 barbie doll. Five dollars in quarters. Also, some wonderful batteries.
What I got: A green jar. A dollar store ‘Barbie’ that had that cheap plastic hair. A five dollar bill, and dollar store batteries.
The Green Jar: there was a crack on the corner, and I sliced my finger on it.
The Barbie’s hair was tangled right out of the box. Couldn’t brush it, and it’s limbs kept popping out.
Batteries; Died after ONLY 10 minutes of use.
Oh, and I owed my brother five dollars, and he took the bill. The reason my parents gave me the money was because I owed him. The cake was a small, personal white cake. Not even marble, which I wanted, but white. The frosting tasted terrible, and the cake was very dry.
I was upset, and my folks told me not to be. They told me that they didn’t have a lot of money that month, so I should be happy that I got anything at all.
Next month, on my brother’s birthday, they took him out to dinner, they gave him a freaking game counsel, and two games for it. Also, 20 bucks.
Yeah, I was upset. I told them why I was mad, how I got horrible items, and my brother had gotten great gifts. Heck, the reason why they didn’t have money for my birthday, was because they already bought my brother his gifts.
Yeah, once they had time to think it over, they admitted that they dropped the ball there. They did make it up to me.
But for the next 10 years, at every freaking birthday, they ask ‘Well! Was this better than your 8th birthday?’
They made it sound like I was a little brat. They stopped when someone finally got through to them how rude that was.”
“My husband’s step-father passed away about five years ago. My MIL asked if there was anything of his we would like from his many collections. He had an extensive shooting iron collection. I asked for a shooting iron, something his son would not want. I didn’t care if it was broken, just something we could hang in our den as a memento.
After an auction was held, she came over and gave me a white trash bag with a broken plastic BB shooter inside, which had probably belonged to my husband when he was a kid. She didn’t even crack a smile.
I was well aware of her passive-aggressive behavior for a while, but my husband was oblivious.”
“The realtor I hired to sell my condo knew that I had made a bad investment and was going to lose money. The 100+ year old building was architecturally beautiful, but the conversion to condos had been just enough to make them look good. In reality, the remodel was nothing more than a ‘pig with lipstick’. It was time to take a loss and move on to greener pastures. The realtor was very clearly aware that I wanted out. It finally sold for far less than I had paid.
At the closing, my realtor presented me with a beautiful, framed, water color painting of the exterior of the building. He was clearly thumbing his nose at me. I said thank you, then immediately gave the painting to the new buyer and wished them the best. I never heard from that realtor again.”
It Won’t Match
“My parents were moving into our house that we had built in Vermont.
We invited up friends of my father. They had worked for him for years and had become friends. When the husband had moved up to a similar job position to my father’s, my father hired his half brother to do his former job. I had summer and winter break jobs working for the husband. His kids had the same for my father.
We had often had visited them and done things together as families.
They were Croatian-Polish and had very different tastes compared to my German-Danish-Austrian parents.
Well, they had brought the really gaudy monstrosity of a porcelain crystal chandelier as a housewarming present for us. It totally did not fit in with the rather rustic New England Cape Cod style house we had built.
My parents were wondering to diplomatically deal with this.
As luck would have it, we had gone out together with them for some activity we had planned. While we were out, the electrician who was contracted to do the work on the house had come, let himself in and installed the aged brushed brass chandelier my parents had ordered and were waiting for.
So it was there in the dining room when we got back.
My parent’s friends were surprised and a bit disappointed. They suggested the brass chandelier could be returned. My parents of course said since it was already installed, that probably wouldn’t be possible.
So my parent’s friends ended taking it back to NYC with them. They probably got my parents something else as a housewarming gift. But I don’t remember what it was.
My parents were eternally grateful to Mister Brophy, our local electrician.”
Probably Should’ve Gift Those BEFORE They Moved
“A beautifully gift-wrapped, HUGE basket of cleaning supplies.
A colleague (Jo) was asked by another colleague (Evie) if she and her boyfriend (Chai) could rent her spare bedroom for ‘at most 3 months’ until their house was completed.
Jo did her homework. She found Evie to be a very organized and presentable teacher and checked with admin re problems. She asked for references for both and visited the tiny flat where they lived (but could not sign a short-term lease).
Until they moved in.
They had not told Jo that they had a separate, full storage area at their flat, and that all would be stuffed into Jo’s place.
They brushed it off with ‘it’s only 3 months.’
3 months turned into over 5, with more stuff added, spilling into Jo’s room.
In addition, they cleaned NOTHING until Jo piled their dirty dishes, pans, and clothes on their bed and threatened to throw them out.
When they finally moved, leaving debris and filth, Jo spent a week cleaning.
When Evie and Chai had their housewarming, that basket was delivered, but Jo did not attend.”
The Bad Gift Ended Up Being The Best Gift
“For one of my birthdays when I was a kid (probably around 1990, when I was turning 13), my little brother (11) came to me the day before to tell me he only had $10 to spend, but he was going to the mall to get me a present and wanted to know if I had any requests.
I was into music, but stuff like DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince back then, so I suggested to my brother that he could get me a rap album and I listed him a few ideas. I also gave him an extra $10 of my own money so that he’d have $20 in total to spend on something better for my gift.
The next day at my birthday party I get my present from him. When I opened it, I was like ‘What the heck is this?’
It was a copy of Led Zeppelin’s 2nd album. The cover art was this weird faded photo of what looked like old-fashioned army men, and I had never heard of this band before. My brother was like, ‘I don’t know. It was on sale and it was all I could find that I could afford.’
I had to laugh a little, because he had left the price sticker on the case, and it read, ‘SALE: $9.99.’ My little brother had kept his $10 and used my own money to buy me a sketchy looking bargain-bin album from a band I’d never heard of, that wasn’t even in the genre of music I liked. The little turd.
Not wanting to let the money go to waste, I decided to give the album a listen. The intro to Whole Lotta Love started up, and it was different to anything I’d ever listened to. It was the riff from Heartbreaker that really hit me. By the time I got to the end of side-2, it had blown my mind and changed my life.
I completely and immediately fell in love with Zeppelin, and started collecting their other albums. After starting down the rock n’ roll rabbit hole I found that my musical tastes had swung a complete 180. This branched out to listening to other rock bands, and eventually I even saved up to buy my own guitar (which I taught myself to play mostly by playing along with my Zeppelin tapes).
I think of how much I still enjoy this music, playing the guitar, going to rock concerts, and all the fun I’ve had with friends and music over the years. I think of how it all came about because of a thoughtless gift from my 11-year-old brother. I really do believe it’s the butterfly effect of one small action causing huge effects in unexpected ways.”