American Novelty Gifts

Written by aurora lajambre
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American Novelty Gifts
A lump of coal is one gag gift thatnever gets old. (Lauren Burke/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Whether you're looking for an amusing exchange gift for a party or a little something to make someone chuckle, American novelty gifts are as fun to shop for as to receive. Unique to Americans' sense of humour and cultural references, American novelty gifts range from funny hats and signs, to random Americana statues and bobble heads of former presidents. These curiosities turn up throughout the home, office and public places with a sense of humour.

Elvia Novelty Items

Elvis Presley novelty gifts round out any collection of classic American kitsch. In fact, Graceland, the King's home in Tennessee, is surrounded by novelty shops dedicated exclusively to Elvis novelty gifts. You can choose from functional items (like a talking Elvis clock), and not so functional items (Elvis hair pieces). Some Elvis novelty pieces are collected with love by diehard fans, while many find a home on an eclectic shelf for guests' amusement. Consider getting that special someone who says they have everything a life-size Elvis velor bath towel. Your recipient can use it, frame it or save it for important guests.

Political Action Figures

Making fun of politicians is an American tradition evident in the earliest political cartoons prior to the American Revolution. Political action figures are silly, but that's the point. Perhaps your recipient will be inspired to build up a collection of his favourite (or least favourite) presidents. Freedom is speech enables Americans to criticise and poke as much fun at current and former government officials as they wish. Political "Action Figures" are often depicted standing and waving or giving a thumbs-up with a silly grin. You can go all out with the political theme and give the gift of vinyl political masks, life size cardboard cutouts and political playing cards.


Many American homes of both fishermen and non-fishermen have a Big Mouth Billy Bass Sing Fish mounted on the wall. With a slight push on his red button the fish swings his head and sings just long enough for you to get his songs stuck in your head. Animatronic animals that sing, dance and talk have long been popular novelty gifts that range from the silly to the absurd. If your gift recipient has a favourite animal or hobby, like bird watching, your chances of finding a novelty item of that animal are high. If possible, take a look around your friend's home beforehand to make sure she doesn't already own a dancing hamster--one is probably enough.

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