While those closest to you are likely to get something amazing for Christmas, birthdays, or anniversaries, like a thoughtful and perhaps more expensive gift, novelty gifts are just fun to give. They’re usually a bit on the cheaper side, they’re humorous, and they can be pretty much anything. Whatever is fun or funny to you will fit the bill.
Whether it’s for a Yankee Swap or a white elephant gift exchange, or just because you feel like messing with someone, giving a novelty gift keeps the mood light, no matter the setting. Everything is fair game, too, so you don’t have to worry too much about getting the perfect gift. Remember, if it’s a white elephant you’re buying for, the gift should be unwieldy or require some absurd upkeep cost. If it’s a Yankee Swap, you have to decide whether you’re bringing something that someone gets stuck with, or the thing they’re gunning for — every gift exchange has that one actually-cool item.
Novelty doesn’t need to mean just unwanted or embarrassing stuff, either. Fun novelty items can include retro toys, comically sized games, or just plain interesting pieces. You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to gifts like these.
If you decide to give them something really ridiculous or useless, you could always tack an Amazon gift card to the gift, too, so at least they’ll still get something they like out of it. Could be handy if you decide to go the political route this year, since this one was a doozy.
If you see gift-giving as an excuse for pranks and nonsense, here’s our list of the top 30 best fun novelty gift ideas.
1. USB Pet Rock
The original Pet Rock made its debut in 1975, which means that it predates virtually all modern computing technology. The original sold for $4, but is sadly no long compatible with modern life. You’ll need to give the people on your list this contemporary update. Simply plug the rock into an available USB port and you’re done. All of the new pet’s needs will be met by being plugged in. It’s compatible with every operating system ever created and any that ever will be created, but if you give it to someone who bought a new MacBook Pro this year, you’ll have to give them a USB-C adapter, too.
Need more options? Browse more ThinkGeek products here.
2. Grow a Boyfriend/Girlfriend
Know someone having a rough time in the dating pool? Don’t let them be alone for Christmas this year. After 72 hours in water, their new partner will grow to six times their original size and be ready to sit by the fire with a glass of eggnog. It’s giving the gift of love, really.
Need more options? Browse more Forum Novelties products here.
3. Snowtime Anytime Indoor Snowball Fight
Having just moved to an area of the country where snow on Christmas would be profoundly unlikely, I’m already lamenting the lack of a white Christmas. Not to worry, though, since a snowball fight is possible at any time with this 40-pack kit. Perfect for offices, too. If you want to go all out, there’s an inflatable snow castle fort to make it really authentic.
Need more options? Browse more Snowtime Anytime products here.
4. View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack
You remember the original View-Master, don’t you? Using photographic discs, it was like binoculars into another world. Mattel has since updated the View-Master for modern life. By downloading apps to your smartphone and placing the phone into the headset, you can enter an immersive, 360-degree world. It’s the same general premise of whisking you off to exotic locations or displaying rarely-seen imagery adapted for our experience-rich entertainment demands of today.
Need more options? Browse more Mattel products here.
Price: $13.99 (18 percent off MSRP)
5. Etna Giant Inflatable Bowling Set
Another game as good for the office as it is for the kids’ room, this giant bowling set offers cartoonish proportions for silly fun. The ball measures 25 inches in diameter, while the pins stand 28 inches tall. This set comes with six pins and one ball, and can be played either in the classic rolling style or as kick ball.
Need more options? Browse more novelty and gag toys here.
6. Carnival Crane Claw Game
The beauty of this gift is that not only is the crane game fun as it is, but you could stock with something the day of Christmas to make it even more interesting. Candy, money, whatever you want. I owned one of these for a few years and would fill it with themed items at other holidays for parties, especially Halloween. A very versatile and ultimately useable gift for anyone. If you have the money and want to go all out on the gag, you could always get a full-size claw machine, too.
Need more options? Browse more Constructive Playthings products here.
7. Rocket Box Retro Jacks Game
Another retro gift option is this high-quality, vintage-style jacks game. You get ten metal jacks in silver and gold and two red bouncy balls. Games like this are super fun to play on Christmas morning, even if they can’t compete with the new PS4 game. It’s a novelty to play a classic game for a little while, especially when it’s presented this nicely.
Need more options? Browse more retro toys and games here.
8. Paladone Pac-Man USB Powered Ghost Light
For those who love vintage games, this desk lamp is a fun way to celebrate their long-standing high score on the Pac-Man cabinet. In standard mode, this USB-powered light will cycle through 16 different colors on repeat. It also features a party mode, which causes the light to react to the music in a room. There’s a dial to adjust the sensitivity to the volume of the music.
Need more options? Browse more Paladone Products here.
Price: $30 (6 percent off MSRP)
9. Meat Maniac Ultimate Novelty Candy Canes Sampler Gift Pack
Candy canes are an essential part of Christmas. While almost every one you come across is peppermint flavored, that won’t cut it for some people. You need to get really weird with it to grab their attention. This sampler pack of savory candy canes features 24 canes flavored like things that have no business being candy. You get six bacon candy canes, six pickle candy canes, six gravy candy canes, and six wasabi candy canes. Inevitably, someone will admit to loving each of these and they’ll get eaten quickly.
Need more options? Browse more Meat Maniac products here.
10. The Lord of the Rings Map of Middle Earth
Hanging a map of the world on your wall is a classic touch for any room. Especially the antique-looking, sepia-toned maps, which lend an air of sophistication. Why not add in the extra touch of being a map inspired by fandom? This is a LOTR map of Middle Earth, perfect for anyone who loves the books or movies. This map measures 36 inches by 24 inches. If you prefer, you can also get a Game of Thrones map, too.
Need more options? Browse more posters and prints here.
11. Young Mugs Luke’s Diner Mug
Did you enjoy binge watching the Netflix Gilmore Girls reunion mini-series? Even if you didn’t, someone in your life must have. Give them this mug straight out of Luke’s so they can revel in their favorite show every morning. There’s also one inspired by the Dragonfly Inn.
Need more options? Browse more Young Mugs products here.
12. Houtemy Mermaid Tail Blanket
Perhaps better than even a Snuggie, this is a wearable mermaid tail blanket. It’s exactly the kind of thing you’d get for someone as a joke only to have them love it above all other blankets, and possibly even pants. It comes in four colors — blue, pink, purple, and mint green — as well as a size each for kids and adults.
Need more options? Browse more bedding here.
13. Aahs Engraving Everyday I’m Hustlin Novelty Nameplate
Know someone who puts in 110% everyday — or at least talks like they do? Get them this nameplate that declares their love for work and/or Rick Ross. Choose between brass and brown, silver and brown, brass and white, and silver and white.
Need more options? Browse more Aahs Engraving products here.
14. Accoutrements Shakespearean Insult Bandages
There’s something rewarding about being able to lob an insult over the head of the intended audience. How better to do that than with Shakespearean insults? And what better way to reference them than on the average adhesive bandage? You’ll get 15 bandages and thus 15 insults in each tin. Handy if you’re the one usually in charge of providing the band-aids. There are also Edgar Allan Poe bandages, if you want to mix and match. Alternatively, you could hand out the insults as chewing gum, if you prefer.
Need more options? Browse more Accoutrements products here.
15. Lightning Reaction Reloaded Shocking Game
The old surprise shock buzzer gag is a classic. You can’t beat the trick of shocking someone when they don’t expect it. But, let’s face it, it’s a little dated. Reinvent the fun of shocking your friends as a game where they at least have the advantage of knowing it’s coming. Gameplay is simple: listen to the music and watch the lights. When the light turns red, press the button. Last person to press gets a shock. You can adjust the shock level by three settings, so you can dial in how much pain you want your friends to endure.
Need more options? Browse more Squirrel Products here.
16. Ink Whiskey Concealable Entertainment Flask
Returning to the retro gaming theme, here’s a gift for every 80s kid. Designed to look just like an old NES cartridge, these are instead flasks, perfect for hiding your favorite libation. It might seem a little conspicuous to be carrying around an NES cartridge, but nevermind that. Other options include Kega Man and The Legend of Drink.
Need more options? Browse more Ink Whiskey products here.
17. Turbospoke Bicycle Exhaust System
Did you, like me, attach baseball cards to the frame of your bike so that they’d clack against the spokes and create a vaguely motorbike sound? The days of destroying possibly-valuable baseball cards are over with this deluxe kit. This kit includes three Motocards, each producing a different sound. That sound is amplified by the megaphone-style exhaust pipe. The kit includes all the parts and tools you need, as well as 24 stickers for added fun. Perfect for the child, fixie-riding hipster, or bike commuter in your life.
Need more options? Browse more Turbospoke products here.
18. My Arcade Retro Machine Handheld Gaming System
While the new NES Classic Edition features 30 preloaded games in a smaller format, it’ll also cost you over $200 and require a TV. On the other hand, this tiny handheld game cabinet features 200 games that can be played right on the device. The 2.5 inch LCD screen allows for full-color gaming, while the joystick and two-button layout recall the arcade games of old. This little guy will run for hours on three AA batteries.
Need more options? Browse more travel games here.
Price: $21.97 (27 percent off MSRP)
19. Society6 She Wants The D(estruction Of Patriarchy) Carry-All Pouch
A cheeky, semi-political gift for our contentious times. Any way you cut it, you have to be a little bit brave to give this gift, which makes it a good candidate for potentially uncomfortable holiday get togethers. Made with a canvas-like exterior, a high-quality YKK zipper, and a poly/cotton blend interior liner.
Need more options? Browse more Society6 products here.
Price: $14 – $40 depending on size
20. Kangaroo Emoji Gumball Machine
The “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji might have been the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year in 2015, but that doesn’t mean the emojis have stopped appearing in every conceivable place since. Take, for example, this version of the classic gumball machine, which comes stocked with just under three ounces of emoji gumballs — yes, that includes Tears of Joy. This would be great to pair with the crane game above.
Need more options? Browse more novelty and gag toys here.
21. Joking Hazard Game
Fans of the long-running Cyanide & Happiness comic know that virtually all the content in those panels is NSFW/NSFL (not safe for life). So, they thought, why not make a game out of it? This card-based game follows in the footsteps of The Oatmeal’s Exploding Kittens game, putting the hilarious and off-color humor of the creators into an experience for all. In this game, three or more players try to build the funniest or most horrifying comics possible. It’s Cards Against Humanity in comic format.
Need more options? Browse more card games here.
22. Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker
Who doesn’t want their waffles delivered in fun shapes? And what could be more fun than a planet-sized instrument of death? Good for Star Wars fans or for annoying people who hate Star Wars. Either way, this gift is a win. You can also opt for the BB8, Stormtrooper, or Dark Vader waffle makers, too. The obvious choice is to buy them all.
Need more options? Browse more waffle makers here.
23. Whiffer Sniffers Willy B. Chilly Scented Backpack Clip
Novelty backpack clips make excellent stocking stuffers. The weirder, the better. This one, for example, is scented. This snowcone is made to smell like mixed fruit, for some reason. You could also go for the three-character mystery pack, if you want to introduce an element of chance into it.
Need more options? Browse more Whiffer Sniffers products here.
24. Accoutrements Horse Head Mask
This horse mask has been as ubiquitous lately as the t-rex costume. That doesn’t make either of them any less funny. This latex horse mask is always great for a gag and will make a pretty good Yankee Swap item, as well.
Need more options? Browse more Accoutrements products here.
Price: $14.59 (51 percent off MSRP)
25. Puzzle Pod Cryptex Brain Teaser & Coin Bank
Handing over money in a card at Christmas makes for a pretty boring gift. Sure, it might be the one they want the most, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, hide the cash you plan to give in this puzzle vault. You customize the five-letter word that must be decrypted to open it. You could drop hints, or just leave it up to them to figure out the answer. How long you torture them is entirely up to you. There’s also a wine bottle variant if your audience is drinking age.
Need more options? Browse more brain teaser puzzles here.
26. Adorable Loose Leaf Silicone Tea Infuser Set
If someone you know loves tea, consider getting them this obnoxiously cute tea infuser set. The five infusers are both dishwasher and microwave safe, made from food-grade silicone that won’t leech any other flavors into your beverage. The figures include Chub Chub, Goth the Sloth, Clark the Shark, Pattie the Manatee, and Kenni the Diver. There’s also a four pack with Chub Chub, Dougie the Puggie, Rufus the Platypus, and Hunky the Monkey for a little less. The smallest set comes with a squirrel and an acorn.
Need more options? Browse more tea strainers and filters here.
27. Fred & Friends E.M.T. (Emergency Meal Transport) Insulated Lunch Tote
This fun lunchbox is pretty novel in an of itself, going so far as to include an ‘organ donor’ ID tag. Imagine, though, speeding up a beer run by using this to keep beer cool. If people don’t get out of your way this thing, they could be risking someone’s life. More beer is often a life or death struggle, isn’t it?
Need more options? Browse more Fred & Friends products here.
Price: $15.78 (21 percent off MSRP)
28. Disappearing Spy Paper Dissolving Note Pad Letter Head
Spy gadgetry makes for great novelty and gag gifts. This spy paper is especially fun. Write any message you want on it, give it to someone, and have them expose it to water, whereupon it will instantly dissolve. You could also write up gag contracts or performance reviews and then destroy it completely right in front of their eyes. A simple gag, but a good one. Comes in a pack of 32 pages, either in 4.25 inch by 2.75 inch size or 8.5 inch by 5.5 inch size.
Need more options? Browse more CCS Spy Gear products here.
Price: $9.66 – $12.40 (20 percent off MSRP)
29. Toysmith Giant Wooden Pencil
Is someone always borrowing (and losing) your writing implements? Put an end to that with this enormous pencil. It measures 14 inches long by 1.25 inches wide. The cartoonish proportions of this are probably enough for a novelty gift, but if you want to make it into a complete set, pick up the Big Mistakes eraser and some giant pens.
Need more options? Browse more novelty and gag toys here.
30. Jet Creations Lifelike Life Size Inflatable Replica Elephant
Finally, to really commit to the white elephant gift gag, you could consider an actual elephant. The white elephant gift exchange concept is purportedly based on the legend of the King of Siam, who gave albino elephants to those in his court who irritated him, with the assumption that the care of the animals would be onerous. Thus, a white elephant gift is one whose upkeep outweighs its practical use. Since we can’t advocate buying an actual elephant (besides, where would we even suggest you buy one?), this life-size inflatable one will have to do. The mere act of inflating it will certainly be more trouble than it’s worth, and once that’s done, they’ll have to find somewhere to put it. When inflated, it will stand 120 inches long by 62 inches wide by 84 inches tall. You could explore this idea for a little less money with a five-foot tall teddy bear or for a lot more money with a life-size, rideable giraffe.
Need more options? Browse more stuffed animals here.
Price: $211.85 (8 percent off MSRP)
If nothing in this list caught your eye, you might want to take a peek at the top 50 best unique gifts. If you’re shopping for an office gift exchange, try best office gifts or best gifts for coworkers.
Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
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