Gag gifts are items bought and given in a spur of the moment, impulse-buying excursion. Something that seems out of place at first makes a connection that reminds them of a friend and a shared interest. Malls have stores where gag gifts can be bought and the online sources seem endless. Many seem at first to be in bad taste and would be if not given with forethought. Gag gifts are relationship items and often professionals seem to indulge in them. Often gag gifts are given as a connection item to show how someone understands and appreciates a friend of colleague so as to look into their interests and share them. Parents who have pride in their children’s studies or careers, co-workers who respect a peer’s contributions, friends who appreciate a service done for them out of generosity and professionalism, all use gag gifts to say “thanks”.
Gag gifts are a funny type of professional courtesy and recognition.
Those with a common career, academic or hobby relationship usually have a common unspoken symbolic language known mostly to themselves and this makes a connection that makes their relationship stronger. Some things read, studied, worked on or seen only by a few knowledgeable observers make a visual connection that they share. Bumper stickers, T-shirts, coffee cups, Mystery Potatoes and items such as “Freudian Slippers” (amazon.com link) keep a bond of professional friendship and networking very alive and vibrant. “Freudian Slippers” combine comfortable clippers with an image of the famous psychiatrist and make for a conversation piece for those in the study and profession. Gifts such as these lend a lighter touch to conversations that can become serous or weighty and can put many at ease, especially in an office setting.
Types of gag gifts that certain jobs and professions enjoy.
Dentists seem to take joy in the windup teeth that joke shops still sell after many years. Few really look forward to dental work and a laugh will relax them and make the experience easier. T–shirts with images and other items that seem to make fun of a job or profession open doors to conversations at the gym, fun runs and events where a chance to make friends and tell others about their job can be beneficial to both.
Gag gifts serve as professional connections and community-builders.
Office settings seem to be a place where gag gifts have the most positive effect. A professional with a unique paper weight with a quotation on it, a plaque or photograph on the wall, a conversation piece that can begin a serious discussion in a light way can open op communications channels that might otherwise be closed.Professional meetings, conventions and other get-togethers are often opportunities to use gag gifts to show appreciation for contributions by members in a lighthearted way. Sharing an achievement with a gift that commemorates the event with a good laugh builds community and the gag gift receives a place of honor in the recipient’s office. Gag gifts share achievement, community and fun.