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The Joy of Giving


    This week I am going to take a break and focus on something besides DIY, that topic is birthday Presents. 

     When I give presents I like to mix things up. I enjoy the challenge of finding something that will confuse the recipient. This includes things like moldy food, half eaten food, garbage, and a weird assortment of other things. However before you judge me, know that I also give the recipient something worth while to make up for the weird gift. This article explains some of the presents I have given in the past.

     It all started in high school. My friend Rodney and I were going to our friend, Mel and we decided it would be fun to bring her a gift. We were at the grocery store and noticed potatoes were only 1.99 for a ten pound bag.  Our friend's family does not cook with potatoes. So we bought her a ten pound bag of potatoes. Later that night when we had to leave, we tried to make her keep them but the potatoes eventually found their way back in my car. It was a pretty good laugh for all of us and completely worth the $1.99.

     The next weird gag gift I did was for my friend Eric's birthday. As I looked around my room, I noticed that I had a large bag of dead batteries in my room that needed to be recycled. There were probably three or four pounds of batteries in this bag. I knew right then that that is what I would give him.

      As a make up gift though I had a copy of Grand Theft Auto for PSP in my back pocket. When I got to the party I said happy birthday and handed him the bag of batteries with a grin on my face. He assumed they still worked, but I had to correct him and say that they were all dead. I am pretty sure he didn't like it, but everyone got a good laugh, so before he could throw the batteries at me I handed him the Grand Theft Auto game. He was pretty happy with it and he got a lot of hours out of the game.

     Another gift I gave was when my friend Mike celebrated his birthday and invited over some friends and family. I was coming from work and so I had some left over lunch in a large brown paper grocery bag. This consisted of a pack of half eaten cookies, two oranges with mold in the middle, an almost empty bag of chips, a bag of mixed plain nuts mixed by me, and a few other random bits of food I can no longer remember. Of course this was not the only thing I could get him. Mike is a big fan of Guinness and I just turned twenty one so I could buy alcohol. So I bought him a six pack of Guinness to go with the gift, and off to his party I went.

     When he opened his gift, his family and some of our friends were there. They all got a kick out of it, especially the moldy oranges and half eaten food items. I know they all thought "what the hell", and that was part of the enjoyment I got from giving such a weird gift. All was made better though when I handed him a six pack of Guinness.  

    Again the next year I gave Mike another gift similar to the previous year. It consisted of a half used bag of protein powder, an almost empty bottle of dinosaur shaped multivitamins, a large Ziploc bag of stale unsalted peanuts, and more food items from the house I had just moved out of. This time as a second gift I gave him a shot glass and mini Guinness glass from Europe where I had just been traveling. He appreciated the gift and, again, we all had a good laugh.

     Then just a couple of months ago it was my friend Rodney's Birthday. Since I was in LA during his birthday, I mailed him a present. In this package, I included a Ziploc of homemade cookies, a paper towel that was used only once, a "bite size" box of nerds, a few other things, a letter explaining the random gifts, and of course a second good gift, a copy of Halo Reach.

     The post office was not able to deliver the package the first time because they couldn't find his apartment for some reason. When the package came back to my address, I just repackaged it and sent it back up to him with success this time. I didn't open it when it had come back to me because I wanted Rodney to receive the package as is. By the time it got to him, the cookies were powder and the bag had broken open so there was cookie dust everywhere in the package. His present got to him two months late, but it was worth it, I think he liked it.

     I wonder sometimes if this enjoyment of giving gag gifts comes from my childhood. For Christmas and my birthday, my parents would always tease me that they got me underwear and socks before I got to open my gift. Actually, I am pretty sure that my childhood plays a role in my enjoyment of gag gifts. Give it a try, it's buckets of fun.



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