Gag gifts can set the tone for meetings and other events in the workplace where a little humor can go a long way. Using practical jokes as a method to lighten the mood in a business is good for morale, though care must be taken to ensure that feelings---and people---aren't hurt.
Certificates are creative, personalized and inexpensive ways to poke gentle fun at bosses or employees without much fear of emotional or physical injury. Common certificate ideas include "Certificate of Upgrade to Completely Clueless" or "Certified Nit-Picker." The certificate should appear genuine at first glance and be given in a humorous spirit. The more detail and personal information you put into the certificates, the more appreciation the recipient will have for them. If you are worried about putting anything that could be misconstrued in writing, however, make sure you pass the certificate by Human Resources before using it for a gag gift.
This gag gift requires a bit more planning on the part of those involved. Get a plastic jar and fill it with ink, pickles or any other work-appropriate items and seal it completely with a super-strong adhesive. Pass the jar around and ask people to open it for you. You might even want to start with a pre-opened jar and have the weakest person in the group, who will be in on the joke, open it before going to the sealed one. Once everyone has given up on the jar, fake frustration and throw it at the wall or floor. The gasps should give way to laughter once everyone realizes it was a gag; the jar can even be a keepsake.
The oldest trick in the gag gift inventory is the ubiquitous can of peanut brittle with snakes inside. Because many people know about this gag, it's better to use a box or can of something commonly found in an office. You can easily rig the can or box by putting in a false bottom made of a round or square piece of cardboard. Staple a string from the cardboard bottom to the lid and ask a co-worker to help you pull the "stuck" end. When the lid comes off, the items underneath the false bottom will fly everywhere. Replace the contents inside with small candies or other gifts for a treat everyone can share after the laugh.
- The Practical Joker's Handbook; Tim Nyberg; 2004
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