The Two Meanings of Gag Gifts

When someone says "gag gifts," what immediately springs to mind? This depends on a lot of factors such as age and gender. Whenever you go into a store or go shopping online, there will be sites that promote two different kinds of gag gifts.

For many people who grew up between the fifties and the seventies, "gag gifts" meant props used in order to pull off a practical joke. These tend to be called "toys" nowadays, but many adults got a lot of use out of them back then. You could also find these gag gifts at the back of comic books and in magic supply shops. These gag gifts included hand buzzers, whoopee cushions, fake vomit, fake snakes in a can of peanuts, itching powder and gum that made it look as if your mouth was bleeding copiously. A scene of blood dripping out of the mouth of a running man appeared quite hilarious for those who would know the reality.

As the litigious 1980's progressed, it became dangerous to use these gag gifts on your friends without thinking first. Many people just couldn’t take a joke, especially if that meant calling 911 in a panic. But the phrase "gag gifts" still exists today, even though the use of a hand buzzer, bleeding gum and itching powder has gone down.

Now, the concept means giving gag gifts to make the recipient laugh. It doesn’t even matter whether the recipient uses the gift ever or not. It's the look that appears on the recipient’s face upon realizing what the gift is for that’s worth the effort. Gag gifts that are now considered funny and risk free include T-shirts with really funny and risqué slogans, clocks or radios shaped like realistic bits of food or little fluffy toys that swear like a sailor when you pull the ring or press a button.

You really have to know what makes your mark tick. Say, you're planning to give gag gifts to a very masculine man with long hair, in this case giving bright pink laced ponytail bands as funny gag gifts can be quite comical.

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