The holidays are the perfect time for pranks. Playing practical jokes on your family and friends can help to elevate the fun, so long as such tricks are harmless and wholesome. But more importantly, a well-executed prank can make you a legend for generations to come. Here are some epic holiday pranks pulled by real people to get you inspired.
1. Looks Can Be Deceiving
For a long time, my sister was a big fan of Mini Coopers, so for Christmas, we told her she was getting a big surprise. We stacked about 100 boxes in the shape of a Mini, wrapped them, and left it outside after she had gone to bed on Christmas Eve. The next morning, we woke up, headed downstairs, and my dad handed her his car keys, saying her present was outside.
She started screaming and crying. She went outside and, for reasons unknown, attempted to hug the car. It was so sad, and yet, so glorious at the same time. She went straight through the boxes and sat for about five minutes before looking at my parents as if they had ended her bunny. I myself didn’t get much that Christmas, but that memory is pure gold.
2. Turkey Turmoil
When I was 10, my mother’s family decided to come up from Guatemala so they could experience American Thanksgiving for the first time. We had about 12 people to feed. I helped my mom prepare the turkey, then went out to play with my friends a bit later. When I came back, my mom burst through my door, screaming: “COME! COME TO THE KITCHEN QUICKLY! SOMETHING HAPPENED! SOMETHING BAD!”
I panicked. I knew something happened to the turkey. I yelled at her, “DID IT CATCH ON FIRE?! OH MY GOD!” We stopped right at the entrance to the kitchen and my mom dramatically turned to me, whispering: “I…I don’t know what we’re going to do. We don’t have a backup plan.” I pushed through her and opened the oven. The foil covering the turkey was still over the dish, hiding my nightmare.
My mom stepped next to me and lifted it with a pair of tongs to unveil a baked cornish hen. I screamed bloody murder. “WHAT THE HECK, MOM?! IT WAS A 24-POUND TURKEY WHEN WE SHOVED IT IN THERE! WHAT HAPPENED?! OH MY GOD! WE DON’T HAVE ANY OTHER FOOD TO OFFER! THEY FLEW UP JUST FOR THIS! OH MY GOD, THANKSGIVING IS CANCELLED! WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO ORDER PIZZA OR SOMETHING! WHY DID YOU LET THE TURKEY SHRINK?!”
I started bawling at that point, freaked out beyond belief that my “perfect” family Thanksgiving had just been ruined. I turned away and started heading toward the balcony to tell our family the bad news when suddenly, my mom grabbed my arm and sank to the floor in a fit of laughter. I looked at her puzzled and followed her into the kitchen where she opened a bottom cupboard revealing the 24-pound turkey cooked to perfection.
She continued laughing for another 20 minutes while I just sat on the floor questioning my family’s sanity. To this day, I still don’t know how she didn’t break character and crack up.
3. Puppy Problems
One Christmas, when my siblings and I were young, my mom decided to prank us as no one had ever before. I wanted a puppy, being the little girl I was. Christmas Day came and there was a giant box with holes poked in the sides and top. There were even scratch noises inside. I knew it was my puppy, but the box was overly large. I ripped it open and immediately screamed.
It was not the puppy I was hoping for, but my fat uncle sat inside with a collar and a stuffed animal. I never did end up getting the puppy.
4. Apocalypse Now
Back in 1993, when I was 13 years old, I was sitting in my parents’ 23rd-floor apartment when I came out from my room and saw them both watching a news broadcast. They both looked very serious watching this news story, so I sat down and asked them, ” What’s going on? ” My mom calmly replied, “Asteroids…they found a big asteroid approaching Earth.” I became immediately interested.
I sat down and watched as the story unfolded into a live TV news broadcast. At one point, the newscaster confirmed that the asteroid was going to hit earth and that no one was sure if something could be done in time. I should note, every 10 minutes or so, my dad would flip through the channels, saying, “I wonder if anyone else has better coverage.”
I was just focused on the story. Eventually, the newscaster said that the asteroid was now visible to the naked eye, so I RAN out to the balcony as fast as I could to look for it…when I didn’t see it, I ran back and kept watching. The next update was that the government had decided to shoot the asteroid, break it up, and send the bits to bounce harmlessly off the Earth’s atmosphere.
My mom and dad were calmly sitting on the couch, while I on the other hand was freaking the heck out. The plan to destroy the asteroid succeeded and the TV showed bits of it blasting apart in the skies above. I was so happy that I started crying…but then, about two minutes later, another BIG news alert update flashed on the screen and they cut over to some space monitoring center…
Then it happened. About 100 asteroids showed up on the screen, each one larger than the one they just blew up… People were freaking out, and there seemed to be no hope left. I broke down in tears, completely oblivious to the fact that my parents were still sitting calmly sipping their coffee…It was only at that point that my mom decided to tell me the truth.
It was all made up, the entire news broadcast. It was actually just some fictional TV show, and it ruined me. I was absolutely furious! My dad later told me that the reason he flipped through the channels looking for other news broadcasts was so I wouldn’t notice when the TV show cut to commercials!
5. Of The Same Name
When I was little, I told my parents that all I wanted was the new Kirby’s Dream Land game for GameBoy. When it came time to give me presents, there was this huge one wrapped for me, and after pulling the wrapping off, I discovered that it was a Kirby vacuum cleaner box. I started freaking out, as my tiny mind began putting pieces together; meanwhile, they were acting all concerned.
They told me. “I thought you wanted a Kirby?” Of course, after a while of dying inside, they begin to laugh and tell me to open the box. Inside, after enough digging, I found the cartridge waiting at the bottom.
6. Chasing The Rainbow
Every year on St. Patrick’s day, my mom dyed everything green. Green milk, green pancakes, GREEN! She said that we had to do this because the impish leprechauns would be out and about causing mayhem all day, and the only way to catch their speedy little asses was to bait them with their favorite color. We’d set traps with a dish of food set under a shoebox, propped on a string, and our gullible butts parked around the corner waiting for the telltale “flash of sparkly green.”
My parents would sit and watch our shenanigans, no doubt holding back their laughter. But here’s the thing—while we were waiting for the leprechauns to take the bait, there would inevitably be a loud clatter somewhere else in the house. When we ran to see what the noise was, there would be a bunch of chocolate-wrapped gold coins all over the floor. It didn’t make any sense.
We lived in a very large, old, and noisy house, so we could easily hear this happening from a floor up or down. Keep in mind that every single member of our household was present and accounted for at the leprechaun baiting. The places where the coins fell were too far from us for my mother to have simply tossed them over our heads while we were distracted.
They also often fell in very stark, empty areas of the house where hidden stashes of coins or other complicated methods of coin dispersal were impossible to hide. The go-to spot seemed to be our upstairs hallway, which had all hardwood floors, sparse track lighting, absolutely no furniture, and only one entry point…which my mother would have had to pass us to use.
As we grew older, we grew more suspicious. We started to investigate our mother, all year long. Middle of August? Let’s figure out where the heck mom is hiding her method of chocolate coin dispersal. These witch-hunts caused some unfortunate and untimely discoveries…like all of our baby teeth stashed in mom’s nightstand (which confirmed that the tooth fairy was not real).
We also solved the riddle of the missing Victoria’s Secret catalogs, but we never did figure out how the heck my mom managed to be two places at once, every St. Patrick’s day. We’re all in our 20s and 30s and she still refuses to tell us how she did it.
7. Clowning Around
One Christmas morning, as my brothers and I gathered around the tree, my mom excitedly pointed out one lumpy present and said, “That’s the one I think you’ll like most, sweetie. Open that one last.” So we opened presents together, each of them amazing and just what I wanted. That made me even more excited about this mystery present waiting for me.
How could it be better than the books I got? Or my new hat? Dang, this must be one excellent gift. Finally, all the presents had been opened, and my mom was beaming with anticipation as she slid the final bundle across the rug to me. I’d never seen her this excited for me to open a present. I tore the paper and saw a glimpse of red, two sinister eyes, and cloying yellow splashed with polka dots.
My mom had given me a freaking clown statue. Not just your run-of-the-mill clown, either—it was this very horrifying clown statue that I had cringed upon viewing at my grandma’s house once years ago. The very statue that had made clowns unsettling for me (even before I saw the film It). I threw it across the room and screamed as my mother howled with laughter.
She’d apparently gotten it from my grandma (who was going to throw it away) and saved it for MONTHS to give to me. That was the year I stopped trusting that crazy woman (just kidding, I love my mom and her insane sense of humor).
8. Hound’s Ham
It was Christmas time, and my father and my step-mother were preparing a relatively big meal for about seven or eight people. My dad worked fifty-plus hours a week and I went to school, so both of us were pretty tired and looking forward to our holiday break. My stepmother stepped out and told my father that the ham would be done cooking in about an hour. He was to take it out of the oven if she didn’t get home in time.
I could see the wheels in my father’s head spinning. He let the ham cook and then proceeded to take it and hide it in the dining room, leaving the oven on to pretend it was still cooking. My dad then pretended to be asleep on the couch as my stepmother got home. When she went over to check on the ham, she started losing it, yelling, “Jeff! Where on Earth is the ham?! Did you take it out?!”
After a couple of seconds of silent giggling, he “woke up” and walked her to the dining room to show her the ham…but a fresh new horror awaited them. The dog had been chomping on for about ten minutes. That ham was completely chewed up by our American Fox Hound. We had Chinese food for Christmas dinner instead.
9. Big Y2K Scare
New Years’ Eve, 1999. My whole extended family had gathered for a party. At the time, people were kind of wigging out about Y2K. Our family had not really bought into any of it except for one of my aunts who was slightly nervous. When the time came to watch the ball drop, we started the countdown…3…2…1…HAPPY—Oh no!
The TV snapped off, the whole house went black, and my aunt started to lose it. Everyone was silent except for my aunt who was freaking out, and after a few seconds, we heard some laughter coming from the garage. While my family tried to light a candle, I went to look for my father and uncle who had mysteriously gone missing during the chaos.
I later found them crouching right next to the circuit breaker, laughing their behinds off.
10. The Redirect
Every Christmas, my brother and I would visually inspect the gifts under the tree to guess what they could be and see which ones belonged to who. One year, there was a big box all the way in the back that didn’t have a name on it, so we asked our mom who it was for. She said, “It’s for your dad. It’s a multiple-piece gift set for men; you know, with a wallet and flask and stuff.”
We thought it was a pretty cool idea and we let it go. Then came Christmas morning—we handed him the box excitedly, waiting to see his reaction to this gift. He started opening it, then said, “Hey, why don’t you guys help me?” Sweet, more wrapping paper to shred. The paper came off and…it was a Playstation 2. We lost our minds for a good minute or so before we turned to our mom (who had a video camera in her hands) and started screaming.
“YOU LIED! YOU LIED TO US! YOU’RE A LIAR!” She thought it was hilarious. And it was. We were beyond ecstatic. I love watching that tape years later and hearing our childish, squeaky voices.
11. Naughty List
This was my prank, but my mother was in on it. When my brother was about seven, he still believed in Santa, and I was the cool 12 year old helping my mom with keeping the presents hidden until late on Christmas Eve. We would then wrap them and set them up under the tree for the morning. Later, when all the presents were in place, we were watching a movie and I noticed by the fireplace an empty gift box, along with the leftover wrapping paper…
The next morning, my brother woke up and saw a gift in the middle of his room. Not unusual, mom had always left our stockings or something small in the room so we wouldn’t wake her up at the crack of dawn. He opened it while I stood at the door poker-faced, and under the layers of tissue paper, he found a lump of coal. He also found a note, written in my best 12-year-old writing, saying something along the lines of, “You were mean to your sister this year, no presents for you.”
He sat down on the rug, ashen-faced and sobbing, and refused to leave the room…which was a shame, because his stocking was outside the door. I broke after about two minutes and confessed.
12. Staged Fright
My mom is a high school teacher. April 1st rolls around, and she decides to prank her students. In order for the prank to be successful, she included one student in her plan. The day before, she told this kid (we’ll call him Brad) to take one of her old phones to class with him the next day, pull it out at some point, and “text” in class. Brad agreed to do it, and the next day, when Brad started texting with the mole phone, my mom promptly halted her lecture.
She walked up to Brad, took the phone right out of his hands, and she chucked the thing out of her second-story window. The look on the faces of her students was priceless, as my mom describes it. No one was laughing, no one was smiling; just sheer, raw horror. Always loved that one; never done a prank quite like it.
13. A Little Birdy Said…
When I was very little, my dad would talk in a high-pitched voice when I wasn’t looking. He pretended to be a little bird and he became my friend. We would talk all the time and I would beg him to come out from where he was hiding. It started on a very long road trip to visit my grandparents and he continued to do it once we got home.
One day, I was looking under all the furniture trying to find the little bird while we talked and I spun around suddenly and caught him in mid-sentence. It was devastating.
14. Oven Surprise
This happened around the year I was born actually, but it’s a famous little joke my parents played that has been talked about in my family for years. Anyway, my older brothers really wanted an NES. It was the only thing they wanted for Christmas, but my family was pretty poor and my parents told them over and over that it wasn’t likely they’d get it. Still, their little hearts just refused to give up hope.
On Christmas Day, they opened their presents and…nope. No NES. My one brother was upset the most—he’d been the one most vehement about getting the system, but he was trying to be happy with what he got. After a couple of hours, my parents told him to scrub out the oven so they could get the ham going, and my brother was upset. Come on, having to do stuff? On Christmas? Couldn’t they just cook it in the oven as it was?
My dad basically told him to shut up and do what he was told. So my brother glumly went over to the oven and opened it up…and there was the Nintendo, with a couple of games. He was ecstatic. He couldn’t play with it until after he scrubbed the oven, though.
15. Extended Wait
Back during the holidays in 2001, I broke my leg and was pretty miserable hobbling around school and all that. I was stuck every single day waiting in the principal’s office after school waiting for a parent to pick me up because I couldn’t take the bus with a cast on and crutches (and the principal was a family friend). I couldn’t hang out with friends much because I was pretty immobile and they just wanted to horse around outside.
Miserable old me begged my parents to get Tony Hawk 3 for the GBA as my Hanukkah gift. They knew that I really wanted a PS2, but it was pretty expensive for just a gift, so that’s why I turned to the GBA game. Come Hanukkah, I got my gift on the first day and it was Tony Hawk 3 for the PS2. I, of course, didn’t have a PS2. My mom apologized profusely and said we would go out the next day and she’d let me get any other game from the store.
I got into bed that night and there was a big box under the covers when I tried to get in. Inside that box was a PS2 that my parents got me for Hanukkah and to help me be less miserable while my leg healed. I’ll never forgive my parents for waiting until 10 pm to give me a new game console—the next day of school felt like the longest of my life!
16. Under The Sink
One Christmas, my mother bought my cousin the Asteroids game for Atari. We had an Atari as well and really wanted the Asteroids game too. We found out our cousin already had the game in his expansive collection and we told my parents of this. At this point in our lives, we didn’t believe in Santa anymore, so my parents would wrap gifts as they were bought and torment us by leaving them under the tree, weeks before Christmas.
Leading up to the big day, we were all sitting around near the tree, trying to guess what the presents were. All three of us kids were like, “This is Asteroids” pointing to our new game. My dad was like, “How do you know? “It’s not Asteroids.” He got all three of us to say, “Yes it is! I’ll bet you $20 it is!” Come Christmas, we opened our presents to find picture frames. Taped to them were three $20 bills…which we all had to give to my dad for losing the bet. But there was a twist.
Asteroids were wrapped and hidden under the kitchen sink.
On April Fool’s day one year, my mom doctored an entire meal to look like other kinds of foods. She mixed vanilla ice cream and some yellow food coloring to make “mashed potatoes,” molded green beans out of taffy, and made some kind of incredibly convincing “lasagna” out of cheesecake bits and red frosting in a casserole dish. We were thrilled…but then she brought out an actual meal.
18. Rerouting To Destination
I pranked my husband for his 40th birthday. I kept joking I’d take him on a great trip, so a few days before, I took a road trip over to Carowinds near the North and South Carolina border. I went to this filthy hotel near there called The Plaza and got a brochure and a piece of letterhead from them. I also picked up tons of brochures for cheesy attractions in the region.
I gave him an envelope with a “gift certificate” to stay at The Plaza, along with the pamphlet that showed the ugly pink place in its full glory. (We’d ridden past it many times, so he knew of it). He wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. As he was rooting through these, giving me a dirty look, he came upon the final piece of the present.
The last pamphlet was one I created that included the itinerary for our flight to and information on the bed and breakfast where we would be staying, as well as photos of all the cool things we were going to do for his birthday.
19. Whip It Good
My mom was a pretty big health nut when my brother and I were younger, so any sort of sugary treat was always a huge deal. It was a weekend, so we were allowed dessert after dinner and my mom decided to let us have ice cream. My brother was playing video games, so my mom called me into the kitchen to help her scoop it out. Awesomeness. I spooned out three servings for us and then got ready to put on some Cool Whip.
That’s when she suggested we put sour cream on my brothers’ ice cream. As a younger brother who was constantly picked on and bullied, it brought me great joy to see him take a huge bite of “Cool Whip.”
20. Fast Forward
On Christmas Day sometime in the ’90s, We had a rule that I couldn’t wake my mom before 7 am to open presents. One year, my uncle put all the clocks forward three hours. I woke up super early, as usual, saw it was 7 am, woke up my uncle first (who had been out clubbing the night before), and we returned with a few whistles. I tried to wake her but she refused to get up, saying it was too early.
Cue 20 minutes of me and my uncle running around the house blowing whistles and shouting wildly. It was glorious.
21. To The Track!
I guess I pranked myself! My dad had stayed late at work for months making us this super awesome petrol go-kart for Christmas. On Christmas day, they gave us a large box with a racing helmet and a set of keys inside. Well, my sister and I were pretty confused, but not wanting to seem like ungrateful little brats, we got excited and started playing with the helmet.
They just stood by and smiled while we zoomed around the living room until my dad sent us outside for chores (On Christmas day! Come ON, dad!). Only, we didn’t notice the brand new shiny go-kart and proceeded to feed the chickens, complaining loudly. They eventually had to come clean and point it out to us.
22. Sax, Relax
It was just before Christmas when I was in high school. I was the biggest band nerd ever and I had just recently started playing the soprano sax. My mom’s boyfriend had one that I usually borrowed. One day, I stayed home sick from school, so I used the time to practice a piece I was working on. They came home that night and started yelling that I had ruined it.
They said I would have to buy my mom’s boyfriend a new one and it would never be the same, blah blah blah. All I could see was them looking visibly freaked out with an open case in front of them. My mom’s boyfriend shut the case and asked me why I ruined it. I was almost in tears, freaking out about whatever I did when they turned the case towards me, still looking super upset.
I grabbed the case and opened it, then started to freak out even more when I saw a brand new, red soprano sax in the case. They then pulled out a new case that had his sax in it, completely unharmed. They started laughing before telling me, “Merry Christmas, GOTCHA!”
23. What Comes Around…
When I was seven and my brother was four, we found some brand new bikes in the shed a week before Christmas. The shed was locked, but we somehow managed to break the bikes out. All this happened while my parents were sleeping at like 7 am on a Saturday morning. My parents woke up to us riding our bikes up and down the street.
They stopped us and claimed the bikes must have been stolen. My parents called a family friend that is a cop and he showed up in his patrol car to take the bikes. When he arrived, he thanked us for finding them. We were pretty sad that the bikes were taken away. But then, on Christmas morning, we woke up to the same bikes and a note from the cop claiming he told Santa to give the bikes back (since we were nice enough to return them).
24. Follow The Clues
My parents were awesome at Christmas time. They always made an effort to make each year as special as possible. This one Christmas, however, has to be my favorite. It was the year the N64 came out. At the time, those were nearly impossible to get your hands on. People were paying three to four times the store price to make sure their kid got one. So about a week or two before Christmas, my mom started to brace me for the fact that the N64 I wanted so badly likely wouldn’t be under the tree.
I was visibly upset but told her I understood. I woke up on Christmas morning and walked to the living room in hopes that a minor miracle had occurred and that a new, shiny N64 awaited me under the tree. It did not. I was sad, naturally, but my parents informed me that they’d buy me one once one came available. Not bad, huh? I just had to wait a little while longer.
We continued our day as we traditionally did when my mother came into the living room all excited. “I…I just ran to check the mail and there was a letter addressed to you. It doesn’t say who it’s from.” I opened the letter and saw it was from Santa (I knew the truth by then, but she still liked giving credit to the big man. Plus, she didn’t want to spoil it for my little sister). It was a clue.
I followed it and it led to another clue. On and on this went. They had me going from the freezer, then to the back yard, then to the garage, and back inside again. I had spent over an hour deciphering clue after clue until I finally arrived at the dryer. I opened it up and there, hidden under a pile of clothes, was my N64. I screamed like a little girl. BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER.
I came to find out that my mother was not lying about not being able to find it in an effort to pull off this epic surprise. She really couldn’t. It’s just that my granddad had somehow managed to get his hands on one. For himself. When he heard about my mom’s inability to find one, he insisted that she give me his.
25. Gone Fishin’
I haven’t been pranked on a holiday, but we did get my grandfather one year. When I was 12, I went to my grandparents’ house with my family for Thanksgiving festivities. There was a problem with the kitchen sink and my grandfather spent a bunch of time working on it. With some help from my dad, he had it fixed in a little while, which was a big deal for him as he was legally blind from macular degeneration.
At some point in the night, my uncles came to me and my cousin and asked if we wanted to go fishing. We were on Long Island and my uncles wanted to take my grandfather’s boat out. We drove to the marina and went fishing for a few hours. I ended up catching a four-foot striped bass. So we went home with the fish in the cooler and decided to play a trick on my grandfather.
He had gone out to the Elks Club or something and he got back around 11. We told him that the sink was acting up again and he needed to take a look at it. He started grumbling and cursing, then he went to his room to change into his work clothes. He later came out into the kitchen with his tools, coveralls, and a bucket.
There in the sink was the striped bass with an apple in its mouth. I’ll never forget how much he laughed when he realized he didn’t have to fix his sink again.
26. The Truth Comes Out
On April Fools Day many years ago, my mom and dad decided to prank my brother and me. We lived across from a church, and we went to a Catholic school that we despised, so my dad thought it would be hilarious to run into the room and scream, “Come quick! The church is on fire!!!” Like the little demons we were, we jumped up and down in glee and ran into the living room to look through the windows at the burning church. Mom said she never saw us both so excited.
27. Beneath The Boots
On Christmas morning, about five years ago, my sister tore through the wrapping paper of the last present my parents handed her. So far, it was a good year for presents; not a lot better than the previous year, but we still got what we wanted. Beneath the paper, she found a Doc Martin’s box. She was ecstatic since she had been asking for a pair for a couple of years now.
She opened up the box, smiling the biggest smile I’d seen on her face since childhood—and then her face fell. Inside, she only found my dad’s old combat boots. Seeing her face light up then fall in disappointment, heartbreak, and anger was the best present that year. After some pestering to put them on, she reached in to find the iPod she also asked for. She laughs about it now, kind of.
28. Anytime Now…
There was a HUGE box under the Christmas tree one year. My sister and I were so anxious to open it. Our parents finally woke up and we were crawling around the tree, sizing up presents like lions chasing after gazelles. My father said, “Wait, don’t open anything! I have to go to the bathroom real quick!” We were sitting there patiently, waiting for the sound of him washing his hands so we know game time is upon us…
What was taking so long? We then heard the sound of him brushing his teeth. Man! OK, fine. He’ll be done soon, right? We heard the water running again in the sink. NOW he was done! Yes! NO! The water shut off and then we heard the faucet in the tub running. He proceeded to bathe, taking his sweet time…I’d say he delayed our Christmas present opening by about 30 minutes with that morning routine; but when you’re younger, it feels like hours.
We were seriously trolled that morning, but the Sega Genesis and Sonic we got made up for it.
29. False Alarm
One year in elementary school, we had a snow day. April 1st came around and it landed on a Saturday. My parents woke me up super early and told me that I had to get ready for school to make up for the snow day. I bawled my eyes out screaming, “But it’s Saturday!” Yet they still got me fully ready for school and out the door, crying the whole time, before they told me, “April Fools!”
I have no idea how they didn’t give in to how incredibly devastated I was. Needless to say, April Fools is no longer celebrated to this degree in my house.
30. Logging Out
When my little brother was about 10 years old, my mom bought a six-foot-long Christmas stocking at a garage sale. On Christmas Eve, she wrote his name on it and filled it with logs for the fire the next day. Cue the next morning where we could all hear him thundering down the stairs to unwrap the presents in his stocking.
He ran back upstairs completely speechless about his GIANT present. It almost broke our hearts to see him that excited. Almost. He sprinted back downstairs to open it, and about half a minute later, we heard a furious “DAD!” from the living room. Poor guy got blamed for it since he was the one usually playing tricks on us. We all had a good laugh, especially my mom.
31. Cabbage Surprise
At a wedding, there is usually a table where all the guests put their gifts. My cousin and his wife were invited to a wedding. They brought with them a nice gift—it was wrapped beautifully with a card attached. But they also wrapped a cabbage in a nice gift wrap…though it had no card. They walked into the reception each carrying a gift and left the two gifts on the table.
It’s now many years later and I don’t think they have ever confessed that they were the ones that gave them the cabbage.
32. Dream Man
My parents are boring—they don’t ever do pranks. But my brother, on the other hand, does a Christmas prank every year. Last year, he pulled one on my husband. My brother bought a trunk, decorated it, and put my husband’s name on it. Then my husband went to open this lovely trunk…and out flew a bologna, which slapped his face. But nothing beats his prank from the year before.
He got me really good. He made a DVD with a label that said: “Watch me now.” He had created a video of celebrity crushes I had growing up. Then, in the end, it read: “…And finally, the man that she loved so much. Please turn around and open the door behind you.” So I did so and it was just a cardboard cutout of my father. I was laughing so hard.
33. Cake Mistake
For my mom’s birthday, my brother and I tried to surprise her by making a gigantic cake. We started off with four layers, but we messed up one of the layers and it got all spongy and gross somehow. We saved it anyway—we put the main cake together and hid it in the fridge. When she came home, we put the messed-up layer on the table and we were like, “Happy birthday! We made you a cake!”
She was like “…That looks delicious, thank you so much!” and then we brought out the real cake, and she sighed with relief, saying, “Oh thank God, I really didn’t want to have to eat that first cake.”
34. Later Gator
I got a toy alligator once for Christmas when I was eight or nine years old. You know, the kind they sell at gift shops in Florida? It looked completely real and was probably four feet long from head to tail. My dad decided he was going to place it on the floor beside my bed, facing the bed, so it would scare me when I woke up.
It did the trick and I remember letting out a couple of good screams before I realized it was the present I had received from the previous day. My parents still have it at their house and it creeps me out to this day.
I am a blood relative of Frank Zappa, and when I was little, I was very excited to be related to a rock star. I found out all I could about him, and I was always outwardly excited to know that his children Moon-Unit and Dwezil were still alive and that I might one day be able to talk to them. One day, I heard the phone ring, and my mom frantically yelled for me to answer it because it was apparently for me.
She told me it was Dwezil before I picked it up, and naturally, I burst with excitement. Then I heard the voice speak—and all my anticipation disappeared in an instant. It was only grandma. I hung up instantly and started to cry.
36. The Proof Is In The Diamonds
When I was 10, I realized that Santa didn’t exist. I told my mom this. That Christmas, I saw a little bag attached to the tree, and in the bag was this beautiful necklace that I was convinced had real diamonds in it. The card in the bag said: “Always Believe. Santa.” I asked my mom, and she was adamant that she didn’t get it for me. I believed in Santa for another year because of that.
37. Fire Safety
When I was 15, I opened my presents and got socks and a fire extinguisher (because I accidentally set fire to a tree during the summer), along with other small things. I was a little disappointed, while my brother got better stuff. My parents acted like that was it for about 10 minutes, then pulled a PS2 out of the closet. Then it was all better!
38. A Quick Fix
When I was young, my grandma burnt the turkey beyond reclaim. To rectify it, she ordered another one last minute from a local catering service and it was delivered promptly. The joke was that the catering company was the place where my grandfather had been working for 20 years and we didn’t tell him about the true origin of the turkey or her screw-up for an entire year. Is that funny to others or just us?
39. My Screen Froze
My favorite prank is still the one when I opened up MS PowerPoint on a friend’s computer, put a desktop screenshot on the first slide, then a picture of a plain blue screen on the second. I waited with bated breath for him to click something, and after a few minutes, he started raging, just as I had envisioned he would. Also, putting Goatse on the second slide is equally effective.
40. Bieber Fever
I did this one a few years back to my brother. I put on Craigslist that I had two tickets to the upcoming Justin Bieber concert. I said that I had gotten them for my girlfriend, but we broke up and I didn’t feel like going alone. Being a good-natured fellow, I offered the tickets to anyone who could call or text and tell me why they were the biggest Justin Bieber fan.
I then listed my brother’s phone number. For a full day, he had screaming little girls telling him all the Justin Bieber facts that they knew while I just sat back and laughed.
41. Box In A Box In A…
My grandfather would get dozens of boxes, ranging from big to small, put some cash in a tiny box, wrap it, place it inside a bigger box, wrap it, and so on. He’d do this until he had an appliance-sized box with like 20 smaller boxes inside it, all wrapped neatly. By the time you were done, you were covered in a mountain of wrapping paper and cardboard.
42. Turkey C-Section
On Thanksgiving many years ago, when my cousins and I were much younger, my dad cooked the turkey for dinner. What he didn’t tell us was that he had put a cornish hen inside of the turkey. He proceeded to act very surprised while carving the bird and he said that it had “been pregnant.” Many of us cried that day.
43. Joke’s On Me
One year, I was Miss Altruistic and I asked my family to donate money to any charity of their choosing in my name. That Christmas night, they gave my brother an envelope with a big check.
44. Full Of Peanuts
I filled the window of my boss’s office with styrofoam peanuts. From the outside, it appeared like the whole office was full. But from the inside, you could see that they were just held in place by bags. I set up a camera in the hall to record his horrified reaction as he walked up. The best part? Minimal clean-up.
45. Call Me Maybe
I changed the preferences on one of my friend’s Pandora channels. I liked Carley Rae Jepsen on all of his channels and he didn’t figure it out for MONTHS. He never did clue in on why the indie rock channel kept playing “Call Me Maybe.”
46. Bubble Wrap Bandit
When I was in college, I’d go home for Winter or Spring Break and bring back as much bubble wrap as I could. I’d then return to school a day early and proceed to place bubble wrap under every doormat in every building. I didn’t care if it was April 1st, if it was rainy or snowy…It was happening.
47. A Little Overcooked
We pulled a prank on my grandfather a few years ago. He had owned a smoker for several years, but he had never bothered to learn how to use it. My uncles finally convinced him to use it on a turkey in it for Thanksgiving. The cornish game hen we switched the turkey which had been burned on a grill to a bird-shaped lump of coal.
When he saw it, he flipped and accused my uncles of ruining Thanksgiving for everyone. They let him go for about 15 mins before they both broke down laughing. We still watch the video every year.
48. Morphin’ Time
When I was a kid, we went to a farm for Thanksgiving and they slaughtered our turkey. They cut the feet off, so I took them, put them inside my sweater, and grabbed them as if they were my hands. I was small enough that the ratio was such that it looked like I really did have scaly, reptilian hands. My mom was laying on the couch taking a nap, so I went up to her quietly and touched her cheek with one of my new hands.
When she started to stir, I screamed: “I’M CHANGING! I’M CHANGING! IT HURTS SO BAD!!!” She freaked the heck out and started screaming like crazy. She tried to back up against the back of the couch and ended up going over the edge of it. It took several members of my family to calm her down. Still, nobody took my new hands away.
49. Ew, Gross!
When I was a kid, I ran up to my parents’ room at 6 am on April 1st, opened the door, and yelled: “MOM, DAD, THE CAR IS BEING TOWED!” This backfired on me, however, because when they sprang out of bed in alarm, they were both naked. Gross.
50. Now That’s Cruel
Ever since I can remember, my parents have let my sister and I open one present on Christmas Eve. One year, there were two GIANT boxes under the tree. I think I was 11 and my sister was 10, and these things were up to our chests. We could only imagine what was inside! When the time came for my sister and me to open our one present each, my mom threw us a curveball.
She said we could open them, but she got to pick which presents. To our surprise, she picks the two big boxes. Now, you have to understand that Christmas Eve was a big deal in my house. We would have a ton of family members over (my dad was one of nine siblings, so you get the idea). Everyone watched as my sister and I tore through the wrapping paper and ripped open the boxes.
The first thing we saw was crumpled-up newspaper, covering whatever was inside. We threw it everywhere, anxious to see what glorious present resided in such a giant box. More newspapers. It seemed to go on forever. Once we got to the bottom of the box, we stopped. My sister and I looked at each other in silence, confused as to why there was a brick duct-taped to the bottom of the box and nothing else, while my mom slithered away to laugh in the kitchen for 15 minutes.