Wednesday, December 20

Read it in the Sunday papers. (or Wednesday)

Northwest Herald. Local paper. Joe Jackson song at the bottom. He's great.

Olson: Readers find humor in Christmas gag gifts

By Eric Olson
Comments (0)
Last week this space featured thoughts on ways to use the Christmas gift-giving ritual as a way to get a good laugh.

If you suffered through the entire column, you might have thought, “That’s great, gag gifts are funny, but I haven’t found any headless dolls in the street to dress up lately, and my brother already has burned all of his New Kids on the Block paraphernalia. What can I do that will be both devious and humorous at the same time?”

Luckily, some mischievous Northwest Herald readers sent stories of their own.

“Many years ago, in our teens, I think, my brother and I would take the worst albums we had and wrap them up to give to our cousins visiting from Chicago,” wrote Rob Peterson of Hebron. “We never felt they had much taste in music. We would really laugh if they liked them. Cruel.”

Sure. But hilarious when you’re in on the joke.

Peterson’s nieces and nephews were his more recent targets.

“Sometimes we would include a can of soup or dog treats or something like that in with a big gift,” he wrote. “Or sometimes we would just wrap it by itself. It's funny to see the kid open it. Some were puzzled but still said thanks. ... Some were buzzing through the presents so fast they didn't even notice. It was always funny.”

I agree. As soon as I have my own nieces and nephews, they’re getting soup. I don’t think that my wife will let me give my daughter dog treats, though.

Susan Hagerty of Marengo is another one you have to watch. Especially if she visits your house.

“Throughout the year, when visiting friends’ homes, I would sneak around and find something bizarre to steal,” Hagerty wrote. “It had to be something they wouldn't miss. Lo and behold it reappears at Christmastime as their gift. Funny to see the look on their face when they think, ‘Wow. ... I have one of these.’ Well, you do, ’cause it’s yours.”

Nothing like receiving your own stolen property for Christmas.

Hagerty said she and her friends also had a tradition of passing around an “ugly” painting of a naked woman incorporated into different items, like in the center of a holiday wreath.

Because nothing says Christmas like a badly drawn nude portrait sewn into a jean jacket.

Those of you with children might want to borrow an idea that Geri Stockwell of Wauconda used on her 11- and 12-year-old sons years ago.

“I wrapped 2 snow shovels in Christmas paper weeks before Christmas,” Stockwell wrote. “My boys knew where the gifts were and kept trying to guess what they were. A rocket, skis, were a few of the things they thought they were. They still talk about those shovels and that Christmas.”

Given that Stockwell’s children now are in their mid-40s, that’s quite an accomplishment. And really, what’s better than a gag gift that keeps on giving – back to you?

– Eric Olson is the Northwest Herald’s metro editor. Reach him at (815) 459-4122, or by e-mail at

Link to article. I feel obligated. All true by the way. And these are not the quirkiest things my family does at holidays. We have even better ones. Trust me. Ha.

Appropriate song Link. (Bolt - no video)


Mike Todd said...

You're famous! Cool, dude. You deserve a can of lentil soup and a Sugarcubes album.

mellowlee said...

That's so cool. I love your gag gift ideas! XD

Toccata said...

Lousy albums and dog biscuts. That's pretty funny. I don't think we ever really gave gag gifts. Sometimes we would make the person go on an obstacle course to find the gift though.