Is this a thing unique to our family - the giving of booby prizes as gifts? Or are there others out there doing it too? Sometimes I think I'm speaking another language when I tell other people about who won the 'booby prize' prize over Christmas.....
In our family it was started by my sister and BIL when they were fresh-faced teenagers living in their first flat (half house) together whilst studying. Being uni students they had no money and lived close to the line every week. They also played a lot of tricks on each other and were always laughing together at their antics.
Anyway, one year they decided to get a joke present for each other. I don't quite know why but somehow it escalated to be more about who could get the other the best joke present for minimal outlay. And so the booby prize entered our family's traditions.
So what is a booby prize exactly? Well, think of something completely un-gift-related, something a person doesn't need, most likely something they don't actually want, something that has cost you very little if anything at all - and then wrap it and give it. Ta-dah - booby prize.
To give you an example, one year my sister wrapped up a pair of my BIL's socks and put them under the Christmas tree. Not new socks, no, she wrapped up a pair of old socks from his drawer. Another year my BIL wrapped up the dustpan and brush. Last year my nephew (then 3yrs old - they start 'em young in this family!) wrapped up a tin of corn kernels from the pantry for his mum.
At present my niece holds the title of best booby prize for the Christmas she wrapped a pamphlet for my BIL (he delivers junk mail as a means to keep fit and earn a little pocket money). That she was 7 years old and not only thought of it herself but managed to keep it a secret until the day was the icing on the cake that gave her the crown!
So it was a given that I would receive a booby prize for my birthday.
Excitement was fever pitch when I rocked up at my sister's house. It was even more heightened when the wrapped up booby prize was handed over. Little people jumped around the room with excitement, laughter got more hysterical, the noise level reached epic levels. I couldn't unwrap quick enough to satisfy little hands that kept reaching in to hurry up proceedings.....
What did I get.....?
Yep. I got an orange, a pear and an apple. Go booby prize!
After the kids picked themselves up from the floor and calmed their raucous laughing and screeching, my nephew said to me, very seriously, 'you can juggle with them you know' and then proceeded to eat my pear!