Novelty Gifts vs Gag Gifts

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Why Novelty Gifts Are the Present Everyone Likes

Have you ever been stuck on what to buy a co-worker for their work anniversary? Or wanted to show up to a housewarming party with something other than a plant – again? Maybe you’re tired of staring at the same old boring salt and pepper shaker you’ve had for years, but can’t find anything unique to replace them with.

A novelty gift might be the answer to your troubles!

What Are Novelty Gifts?

Novelty gifts are items that are “novel”, meaning new, different  and maybe unique, that are usually useful but fun at the same time. The idea also includes everyday things but with a twist. Something like toilet paper that looks like dollar bills, or aprons with a muscular torso on them, would fall under the novelty item umbrella. They’re basically practical objects or items with additions to them, that while fun or unique, don’t add any practical value.

Gag items, on the other hand, are objects that have no practical use, other than being used for practical jokes. Created with the idea of scaring, confusing, or making someone laugh, they’re replicas of normal things or moments. For example, a whoopie cushion that makes the same sound as passing gas, a scary face mask or a joke clown nose.

If you’re going to give a novelty gift to someone you might as well make it useful as well. Gag gifts usually land up in the garbage the next day.

A Brief History of Novelty Items

The idea of novelty items as a concept has been around for hundreds of years, and the interesting part is that most of them were created by mistake. Towards the end of the 19th century, for example, the snow globe was born. Created by an Austrian man who worked as a surgical instrument developer. While his idea was to actually create a brighter light source for the operating room than what was currently available at the time, the snow globe was born instead.

Silly putty is another childhood classic that was also created by sheer luck. When Japan invaded the countries from which the US harvested their rubber during World War II, they had to quickly find an alternative solution for their rubber needs. The material they invented was used for boots, gas masks, and tires and is also how silly putty, made from this synthetic rubber, was born. It hit the market as Silly Putty around 1950 when it started being marketed as a non-toxic toy for children.

4 Of The Coolest Novelty Gifts of All Time

Items that have stood the test of time, these novelty gifts are things you see again and again when shopping for unique objects. You might get a glimpse of different variations depending on where you look, but their main idea has been the same across the board, for a very long time.

Printed Aprons: From waist versions to café style and full coverage ones, the idea of printed aprons took off the moment they hit the shelves. With infinite customizing options from brand logos to fun sayings and images, the sky is the limit when it comes to these handy novelty items.

Candles with unexpected smells or packaging: Have you ever wished you could take the smell of the forest home? What about the scent of freshly washed linen? Maybe you’re obsessed with maple syrup and would love to be able to get a sniff of it anytime you’re in your house. The good news is that all these things exist. And as an added bonus, lots of these candles come in fun packages. What you think might be a can of maple syrup is actually not, and a teacup from many years ago could have ended up being repurposed as a candle. Eco-friendly, and cool!

Themed Items: If classic and uninspired isn’t the style you’re going for when decorating your house, then you should know that your kitchen has the most potential for novelty items. Funky clocks, cool napkin holders, and printed plates are some ideas. Anything your imagination can come up with, and then some.

Signs with funny sayings: The idea of using sayings as décor in one’s house really hit peak popularity around 2010. Vinyl and framed versions were some of the most sold ones. The wood versions specifically, however, are also still alive and well today. An excellent option for any room in the house, from the bathroom to the office, they’re also great for any member of the family – including the dog. While “Live, Love, Laugh” is the first one that may come to mind due to how mainstream it was, we wanted to share some of our other favorite ones:
“This is the dog’s house…we just pay the mortgage!”
“M is for Mom (not maid!)”
“Nana’s House. Spoiling you while you wait!”

Take a look at the variety of novelty gifts your local gift shop has available.

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