Every year parents make jokes and threats to encourage their kids to behave so Santa gives them a present or two under the tree. There are elves that keep an eye on their behavior and fable stories of receiving coal in a stocking or a brick under the tree if a child didn't behave. Most times parents just use this as a tactic, but one dad decided to joke with his kids one year for Christmas, and Reddit is calling him out.
A post shared in the "Am I the Assh***" subreddit was written by a dad under the handle stark2. The dad (OP) wanted to know if he's an assh*** for wrapping a fake gift for his children. That fake gift happened to be a brick.
"I have two sons from a previous marriage ages 8 and 9. I've had full custody for the last three years and it's just the step mom and me now," the dad prefaces the story on Reddit.
He then goes into the story and says, "They were so excited about Christmas last year. There were many presents for them under the tree from the grand parents and us, and they were constantly checking them out trying to guess what was in them."
His kids sound like all excited kids, right? Well, dad thought it would be fun to play a trick on his kids. He continues his story:
"They could hardly wait for Christmas day and begged us to let them open some presents early. So we allowed them to open one present that was gifted to both of them. It was the heaviest package under the tree and you could feel their excitement when I told them they could open it on Christmas eve. They tore into it like a couple savages. I'd wrapped it very well to make it take a little time to get at the goods.
As the final paper was ripped off the present, the oldest was going like "it's a..it's a" and the final paper came off, "brick". I thought it was hilarious. The looks on their faces was priceless. Unfortunatly [sic] they were somewhat upset, tears were shed etc. So we let them open one more present to calm them down."
The dad then opened up to Reddit asking if he was an a**hole for playing this joke on his kids and people did not hesitate to chime in their opinions. Over 4000 comments to the OP quickly flew in.
"Why in your mind would you think it is amusing to torment a 7 and 8 year old with a fake present? That’s just sh***y," user Abstractnerddreams writes. Another poster shared the story of a friend of hers who had parents who played a similar prank.
"My friends parents did this, she had wanted a pair of Doc Martens for forever, on Christmas morning while opening gifts she tore off the paper and saw a Doc Marten box, almost started crying because she finally got these shoes she had been wanted for years, only to open the box and see a pair of $15 boots from Walmart. Her parents burst out laughing and thought it was hilarious, she had a major panic attack and cried the rest of the day," writes mrsprinkles3. Adding, "It ruined her Christmas. Don’t f**k around with your kids like that, it’s just cruel."
Another user shared the story of the opposite happening to her, and it was much more feel good. "My mom would do the opposite. I'd unwrap a present and it would be a hair dryer box but then inside the box would be a cute little stuffed animal," writes reddit user StainlessHinge. "I would always pretend to be excited about the hair dryer. We both loved it."
The resounding response to this dad's question seemed to boil down to this being the wrong time for a laugh at the expense of kids.