Gag Gifts for the Holidays

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Andy Williams wasn’t lying when he proclaimed that December is the most wonderful time of the year. With the holidays and winter break on the horizon, you don’t mind Jack Frost nipping at your nose. What does roast your chestnuts is the mental number-crunching between people you supposedly love and gifts they supposedly deserve. Although Aunt Margie cuts your hair for free, she dropped the buffalo chicken dip at Thanksgiving and that really doesn’t warrant UGGs. You are surviving on Easy Mac as it is; therefore, the college budget doesn’t allow Christmas shopping…

…Unless you puree your mind and absorb the creative juices that Martha Stewart and Carrot Top have ingrained within your bloodstream. While tuition, loans, gas money, and books have snowballed into an avalanche of debt, family and friends’ warm smiles can melt your frozen financial tundra. Those warm smiles won’t occur without some form of package that has a bow on top and a nametag with a scribbled holiday greeting under their name. Whether you purge the Dollar Store, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, or splurge at Five Below, there are plenty of avenues for you to explore in order to obtain meaningful presents for your loved ones.

Stress Ball

From mom and dad stressing over the bills to baby cousin Patrick sweating that second tooth coming in, everybody can rely on the ball to squeeze out their frustration. You can even personalize the present by drawing an irritating relative or Bill O’Reilly’s face on the ball for that extra motivation.

 The Jesse Ventura Story Movie DVD

Whether serving our country as a Navy Seal, slamming opponents in the ring, leading Minnesota as Governor, or challenging the government via his TruTV series Conspiracy Theory, Jesse “the Body” Ventura has fought for his beliefs on the public stage for over forty years. By surfing, you can purchase Ventura’s incredible story for just $5 and educate your friend, uncle, or soon-to-be former girlfriend on “the Body’s” illustrious career.

Butter Boy Corn Butterer

As a fan of the Butter Boy, I can attest to the pure elation that emanates from any father’s face once the realization that those days of carving figure eights in tubs of butter are over. If you’re sick of disappointing big daddy by your lack of spreading skill, take solace in the fact that dad can depend on the Butter Boy from now on. Sold at Bed Bath and Beyond for $5.99, this gliding grease tool will be a welcome addition to your family.


If you know how to knit, then this gift doubles as not only useful but also as a labor of love. However, who has time to knit? Decorating, studying, packing, caroling, sleeping, unpacking…tis the season to be hustling! Don’t add unnecessary pressure on yourself by finding time to knit a scarf when Old Navy offers such colorful neck garments at a minimum of five dollars each.

Harlem Globetrotter Tickets

For those living in Sacramento and reading this, don’t dismiss this suggestion simply due to geographical difficulty. The Harlem Globetrotters are an American institution and fun for the whole family. You can buy a ticket for $19.45 online or $11.25 at the box office on the day of the event. Plus, you are only spending money on the ticket; the recipients are responsible for all of the other expenses such as transportation and concessions.

Rubber Dumbbells

Do you remember laughing at your little brothers or grandmother pumping iron with those rubber dumbbells at Modell’s? Some would misjudge those moments as time killers while you are weighing the moral consequences of purchasing a Michael Vick jersey, but I say that your relatives are dropping subtle hints for what is on their wish list. With prices as low as $1.99 for a one pound dumbbell, your wallet stays trim while your relatives get big.

AP Stylebook

WAIT! How do you correctly write a street address for a building? Do you write 6AM or 6 a.m.?

If you don’t know the answers to grammatical queries, then you have proven why the AP Stylebook is a resourceful weapon in the shopping arsenal. Although Amazon’s $9.59 listing could be intimidating, the long-term value wipes out the short-term price plight.

Regis Philbin Christmas Album

What better way to celebrate the legacy of the recently retired talk show host than to spread Regis’ voice around your social circle via his ground-breaking Christmas album? A modern day Sinatra, the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? pioneer croons popular Christmas tunes along with guests such as Donald Trump and…do you really need anyone else? Donald BY GOD Trump sings Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with Regis. Forget your family; treat yourself to this 99 cent treasure!

BONUS: Save money on shiny decorative paper by wrapping your presents in newspaper!

Photo Collage

Interested in seeing your mother shed a tear? Show her your tuition bill…er, I mean compile a photo collage of the family or just you and her. You spend little to zero dollars but provide your biggest fan with priceless memories.

Painted Seashells

Admittedly, this is next to writing an “IOU” note; however, you can pull it off with the right style and charm. Since seashells are replaced by snowflakes in the public conscious during Christmas, your significant other will be flattered by the long-term thought process especially if you mention that you collected these shells during the summer. Painting special messages and images on the shells will add the personal touch necessary to make this completely free gift worthwhile.

Empty Boxes

Remember your five-year-old excitement when your parents bought a new refrigerator or air conditioner? You didn’t care that the house and milk were cooler; you were thrilled to play in the box. Search around the house or campus for empty boxes to give to your cousins or younger siblings and relive your adventurous childhood innocence.

Roll of Coupons

 From one college student to another, you know how valuable coupons are for survival. Coupons in the newspaper are the modern version of the prizes in Cracker Jack boxes. Find deals for your recipient’s favorite stores and restaurants so you can place them in a newspaper wrapped shoebox with a bow on top. 

Sophomore > Journalism > Temple University

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