Unexpected gifts add fun to holiday season

By Marisa Patwa ’12

As junior Amanda Loch watched her mother hand her an enormous, neatly wrapped box during her 16th birthday this past August, she became curious as to what hidden treasure lay inside.

She ripped though the colorful package as her heart sped up, contemplating what kind of gift she might receive. Then suddenly, a giant, fuzzy substance clouded her vision.

“Wow,” Loch said as she removed the present and held it out for her guests to see.

It was a Snuggie.

She immediately burst out into laughter, amused by this silly gag gift. After trying it on, though, she was immediately impressed by its rich fabric, its softness and the generous warmth it offered.

Although Loch now enjoys her Snuggie, she used to distance herself from the bathrobe-esque clothing, deeming herself too cool for something so ridiculous and impractical. However, she says she has now since seen the light.

“When I opened up my present and saw it was a Snuggie I suddenly became giddy,” Loch said. “I used to laugh at them and think they were hysterical but they are actually really comfy and warm and make great gifts as well.”

With the success of Loch’s surprise birthday Snuggie, it has become evident that “gag gifts” such as Snuggies can actually be great gift ideas for those who want to share in the spirit of giving, but might be short on cash. And they are still perfect for those just looking for a good laugh.

However, if a Snuggie is too ridiculous for the annual Christmas shopping list, then the next item might seem more practical: a life size cut-out of Edward Cullen.

Sophomore Emily Pond, a Twilight fanatic, normally does not appreciate gag gifts but explained that a life size Edward Cullen cut-out would be just the thing to make her holiday dreams come true.

“Normally though, I think gag gifts are stupid,” Pond said. “I don’t appreciate them and think the person who gave it to me is cheap. It’s disappointing.”

This Christmas, however, Pond has bought her own father a gag gift to get back at him for the unappreciated gag gift conundrum that occurred at Christmas last year. Pond had asked her parents for a prized Louis Vuitton bag, something she had wanted for years. Right before Christmas, her dad gave her the bag but something was off: It was a knock-off.

Pond was surprised and upset, and she immediately threw the knock-off away. On Christmas day, she received the real bag, but she would never forget her dad’s torturing gag gift. So this year, she plans to seek revenge.

“I bought him a snuggie and nothing else,” Pond said. “When he opens it, he’ll probably laugh and then throw it away just like I did.”

Besides Edward Cullen cutouts and snuggies, there are an endless amount of possible gag gifts to make even the most stoic gift recipient crack a smile.

Prankplace, as web retail site, sells gifts such as swearing pens (that actually blurt out profanities through a tiny speaker), toilet paper with an imposed image of George Bush’s face and “handerpants,” gloves that resemble tighty whities, even featuring a stretchable elastic wristband to keep all your precious fingers in place.

But do gag-gifts go too far? It doesn’t take long to think of a situation where a supposedly funny gift could end up insulting someone, thus ruining the spirit of the holiday.

Sophomore Chris Hemmingson, however, does not think gag gifts are improper and claims to be a big fan of them.

“They are really great and add a silly essence to the wonderful gift-giving tradition,” Hemmingson said.

Senior Cassie Guzzik also said gag gift are great. She has received them in the past and would have no problem receiving another one this Christmas.

“I think they are fun to get,” Guzzik said. “Especially if it is an inside joke between friends.”

She does not think that gag gifts are meaningless or rude.

“I don’t have a problem with them and always enjoy a good laugh,” Guzzik said.

While gag gifts might not be for everyone, there are some who truly appreciate waking up on Christmas morning to find, tucked beneath the Christmas tree, a beautiful Snuggie, a cardboard Edward Cullen cutout or just a practical pair of handerpants.

But remember, if you do plan on giving a gag gift this year, practice good taste. You wouldn’t want that special someone to misinterpret your thoughtful gift of a pamphlet to a local fat camp. That may not end well.