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Gag Gifts vs. Novelty Items: What’s the Difference?

Gag Gifts vs. Novelty Items: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Tyler Ward on

Gag gift defined:

A gag gift (or practical joke device as Wikipedia calls it) is generally defined as an item or object that you give to someone with the main intention of poking fun (humorously) at that person in exchange for a good laugh. It’s more of a prank than a gift. For that reason, gag gifts are becoming increasingly popular as of late. There are a wide variety of gag gifts that you may choose from whether it is a creative gag gift, a disgusting gag gift, a humorous gag gift or perhaps even a gag gift with overt or masked sexual undertones. Who doesn’t like sharing or getting a gift that creates fun, humor, smiles, and, again, a good laugh?

So, why would someone give gag gifts?

Laughter is something that what we all seek and gag gifts attempt to bring out laughter from everyone involved in the gifting process whether it is the person giving the gift or the person receiving it. Even though it is only meant for the purpose of fun and entertainment; gag gifts often tend to require a lot more time to decide upon than purchasing ordinary gifts; after all you don’t want the fun to last only for a few seconds – plus you don’t want to offend anyone.


Close friends who are well aware of their friends’ Achilles heel can help enhance the success of the gag gift overall. This also often makes the gag gift more effective and also decreases the chance that someone gets overly offended. Gag gift can always be shared if you wish to remember the gift for a very long time because, let’s face it – gag gifts are memorable. Also, not only does it create a fun time and a good laugh; but gag gifts are rarely costly items. In fact, more often then not – they are inexpensive.

When to give a gag gift?

There are numerous occasions one may give a gag gift: 50th birthday party; farewell party etc. (especially in cases when nobody is expecting laughter at all – except, maybe not a funeral). Gag gifts are perfect to cheer up almost any situation.

A lot of couples even mix up gag gifts in order to enhance and improve their love life. We won’t get into too many details but I’m sure you can let your imagination run wild.

Other examples of great times to give a gag gift would be college graduations or perhaps bridal showers. In these cases you can easily take any unneeded stress out of the situation with a really funny gag gift.


So what exactly are Novelty Items? How are they different from Gag Gifts?

These items are very much similar to gag gifts; however, they are not designed for any specific purpose. More importantly – they aren’t designed to be a prank and are not even necessarily given to be funny. Sometimes, they are just new and useless items. Sometimes a gag gift can also be used as a novelty item (and visa versa) but they still are separate. A novelty item can be given seriously. A gag gift can’t really ever be serious in nature.

Novelty items can be used as a showpiece, or to crack laughter out of a very subdued situation. Novelty items are typically sold for their uniqueness, simplicity or for the humor of the gift itself. For instance, a Monopoly Money pillow would likely be a novelty item for someone who liked Monopoly but it wouldn’t be considered a gag gift. In fact, Monopoly Money pillows are a great idea.

These emoji pillows are awesome too. 


The biggest difference between a gag gift and a novelty item is that there aren’t many practical applications for novelty items – on the contrary, the practical application of a gag gift is to be used as a practical joke.

Novelty items are typically small in size and may be a souvenir – sometimes gag gifts are overly large or tiny on purpose. However, this can also be true for a novelty item. For instance, if you gave someone a giant blow up rubber duck that would likely be categorized as a novelty item depending on the circumstance. Normally, a novelty item isn’t very large in size or bulky at all.


An important note - novelty items are often used for the marketing and promotional purposes by businesses all around. So one way to differentiate the two is by thinking – could this be used by a business as a promotional item? Fart Spray? Unlikely? That would be a gag gift.

So basically, novelty items refer to all sorts of small manufactured goods that can be categorized as gadgets, collectibles or executive toys in general that have little to no practical purpose. A gag gift, on the other hand, has a practical purpose – to be a practical joke. A lot of novelty items, which started off as small novelty products, are now globally recognized products such as the hula hoop or the Frisbee. In particular, those two novelty items found a practical purpose that wasn’t being a practical joke. That may make them even more unique than an ordinary novelty item – quite the oxymoron and paradox.


1 comment

  • it is funniest blog i have ever seen. i am also trying to introducing funny items

    amirraza on

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