Taking a bat to Christmas
November 20, 2008 3:02 PM   Subscribe

What have *you* always wanted to find inside a pinata?

I'm going home for Christmas this year, and instead of gift-wrapping presents I want to make personalized pinatas for everyone in my family. Partly to jazz up the kind of rote Amazon wish-listing part of Christmas -- mostly because I think it will be awesome to have giant eyeballs, spiders, and octopi hanging under the tree for the month of December.

The problem? What to put in them! Specifically, what do you put in a pinata that's NOT candy? I've got the wrapping down -- can the hive mind help me with the gifting? Requirements include:

- Relatively indestructable. I'm not sure how seriously they're going to unwrapping, but my brother especially kind of likes to hit things.

- Thematically linked? So I can spend most of my time making the pinatas, rather than finding awesome, highly specific gifts for each person.

- Worth the effort! No stocking stuffers here -- I still want them to be actual gifts.

- Must fit easily inside a pinata (a papier-mache container roughly the size of a balloon)

I'm at a complete loss here --- usually I just give people books and music based on whatever I happen to be reading at the moment, but this seems kind of lame. Thoughts? What would you want to find inside, after having just smashed open your Christmas gift?
posted by puckish to Grab Bag (43 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
i always thought money and/or bouncy rubber balls would provide the most entertainment. i would fear for your family's safety, however.

i don't know what would both be indestructible and a fabulous gift (besides kryptonite?). how about gift cards to something reasonably assured not to go out of business in the next year, like amazon or target?
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:07 PM on November 20, 2008

Definitely money. Canadian loonies or the new US $1 coins would be nice.
posted by pravit at 3:12 PM on November 20, 2008

Best answer: Krugerrands.
posted by Wet Spot at 3:14 PM on November 20, 2008 [4 favorites]

Little airline-size liquor bottles. I think a lot of them come in plastic bottles these days.
posted by lore at 3:18 PM on November 20, 2008 [4 favorites]

fun saver camera + gift card for photo developing

raver bracelets

nice socks (argyle trouser socks for the menfolk, patterned knee highs for the ladies)
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:18 PM on November 20, 2008

A treasure map.
posted by robotot at 3:18 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pickles.
posted by nitsuj at 3:19 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

How about gift cards that correspond to the piƱata?

- An animal (tickets to a natural history museum or aquarium)
- A favorite food or beverage (a gift certificate for a restaurant)
- Recreate a character from a children's story (a gift card to a bookstore)
- Reference to a favorite movie (movie tickets)
- ?

You won't be too restricted by the size or shape of the gift, but each person would receive a different present. You could make each gift special for the receiver and even reference personal or family inside jokes.
posted by annaramma at 3:22 PM on November 20, 2008

posted by fire&wings at 3:24 PM on November 20, 2008

Mini stuffed toys!
posted by divabat at 3:26 PM on November 20, 2008

I would like real jewelry inside one of those fake plastic egg things (to protect it and also as a joke).
posted by rmless at 3:27 PM on November 20, 2008

Dollar store toys.
posted by orthogonality at 3:31 PM on November 20, 2008

A friend of the family did this for us one year and it was fabulous. The one thing I remember the most was the variety of herbal teas included.

How about some yummy smelling soaps?
posted by Sassyfras at 3:37 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

Best answer: a smaller, similar pinata, forever repeating. But that's my dream/nightmare.
posted by Large Marge at 3:47 PM on November 20, 2008 [14 favorites]

Another pinata!

A card showing a donation you made in their name to The Human Fund...money for people.
posted by NoraCharles at 3:49 PM on November 20, 2008

Best answer: Polyhedral dice.
posted by HFSH at 4:24 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding superballs.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:46 PM on November 20, 2008

High-end candy.
posted by Airhen at 4:54 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Thirding bouncy balls. And springs! Also, things that make noise when they hit the ground! YAY! I just would love it to be a really exciting break with lots of loud things and things bouching and sproinging out at you rather than just falling straight down.

if the receiver has a pet, many pet toys jingle and bounce and stuff and would make for an awesome tumble while still being a good gift.
posted by gwenlister at 4:54 PM on November 20, 2008

I don't know if this is something that your family members would be into, but I always like getting cool little tools or handy pocket knives (plenty more options at ye olde REI, too).
posted by otolith at 4:58 PM on November 20, 2008

Best answer: USB sticks filled with music and pictures (including pictures of the pre-smashed pinatas themselves).
posted by neroli at 5:04 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Not spiders. Though I've always thought that would be the best evil thing to fill a pinata with.

As far as actual gifts go, you could do anything as long as you wrapped them in bubble wrap.

Also, you could fill it with the insides of a good board game, for example the cards and pieces and such, to give the satisfying "explosion of particles" effect.
posted by np312 at 5:05 PM on November 20, 2008

For the family member that's on the naughty list, you could stop at the butcher's and get a big bag of pig/sheep guts and fill the pinata with that. No way anyone would see that coming and it would be way awesomer than the traditional coal.
posted by jtfowl0 at 5:14 PM on November 20, 2008

Best answer: Small kitchen gadgets for the cook in the family. Golf tees, balls, and other small accessories for the golfer. Small leather accessories such as wallets and belts. Mini packages of gourmet coffees and teas. Scarves, gloves socks. Gift cards. Bath accessories and perfumes. Fancy writing pens and moleskine notebooks.
posted by c lion at 5:18 PM on November 20, 2008

posted by bondcliff at 5:51 PM on November 20, 2008

A portal to another world

Sparkly special effects stars

Karl Rove, but miniaturized

The new shmoo



Seriously? a series of instructions inside those little eggs (that normally contain small toys), that lead me to my gift.
posted by lalochezia at 6:35 PM on November 20, 2008

If you're making them, it would be fun to have each pinata be the head of the recipient. Your family might find it weird, but mine would certainly think it hilarious and awesome.
posted by emd3737 at 6:47 PM on November 20, 2008

Response by poster: Oh man! Lots of good ideas here - some thoughts in response:

1) Foreign currency is a beautiful thing to have rain from the sky 2) Suggestions for good games? What are games people might actually want to play, once we pick up the pieces? 3) Kindereggs! (in response to lalochezia) 4) A treasure hunt --> piracy --> foreign currency buried in the backyard.

Clearly my head is in the wrong place: stuffing is much more important than actual gifts.

I'm thinking, actually, that a really simple gift for each would be nice -- great music that I like, a notebook, maybe photos! I really like the USB idea -- it's nice and personal without having to buy a lot of stuff. Ooo - photos from family trips! or, alternatively, wacky family gatherings. that would be neat. Incriminating photos, etc. (these, too, could rain from the sky)

Anyone know good places to get cheap board games? Or, alternatively, a million superballs?
posted by puckish at 7:47 PM on November 20, 2008

You are missing the the point - what is inside is trivial. The pinata is there so you can, "blindfolded," hit bigger kids with a stick!

Every pinata is full of revenge!
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:03 PM on November 20, 2008

Kinder eggs and punchball balloons.
posted by cucumberfresh at 8:17 PM on November 20, 2008

Best answer: A few more thoughts:

3D glasses

sunglasses (in a case for protection?)

gloves, preferably stuffed with something so they come flying out as disembodied hands

vintage scarves in every color from a thrift store

lighters if anyone smokes. see also: rolling papers, packets of loose tobacco, packs of cigarettes.

hair bobbles and clips for young girls

chapstick or lip gloss

chick tracts

small sketchbook with a whole package of markers emptied in with them

96 box of crayolas

travel dopp kit, though woe be to the one who gets the nail scissor to the eye

stamped postcards, nice pens

mini maglights

tickets to the art museum, beret, moleskine, nice sketchpencils

packing peanuts

traditional mexican candy if they've never had a real pinata, all off-brand character filled with sweets from the mercado bashed up by a bunch of kids hopped up on tres leches: limon 7, vero mango, vero elote, pica, and tamarind in any form you can find it. any latino grocer should be able to hook you up.

if you weren't giving them to family, i'd totally say PANTIES!!!!

shoelaces for the sneak freak

stick of sumi-e, ink grinding stone, brushes

sewing kit (again, careful with the scissors, but those rolls of thead would be fun)
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:11 PM on November 20, 2008

Check party supply stores for bags of superballs. I'd also recommend glitter or confetti (or both!) for maximum explosion upon impact.
posted by corey flood at 9:46 PM on November 20, 2008

Tinsel. Shiny, and who doesn't need more tinsel?!
posted by kjs4 at 10:39 PM on November 20, 2008

posted by Thorzdad at 4:19 AM on November 21, 2008

Best answer: I'd love a pinata filled with smaller pinatas (but not nesting ones, just many smaller ones, each with a bit of candy inside). The look on the face of the pinata cracker would be awesome.
posted by Meagan at 6:44 AM on November 21, 2008

Wind-up toys. Wouldn't it be cool if whatever dropped from the pinata twitched and jerked and tried to walk away?
posted by crazycanuck at 7:14 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Left feet.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:48 AM on November 21, 2008

scratch off lottery tickets. and condoms, obviously.
posted by junipero at 7:51 AM on November 21, 2008

I love this idea. I will be copying it.
posted by andromache at 9:46 AM on November 21, 2008

posted by AceRock at 12:31 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

My fantasy pinata would be filled with bacon, tiny cans of beer, and money. Practically, however, I'd have to nth the giant exploding heap of superballs.
posted by elizardbits at 12:42 PM on November 21, 2008

Turns out it's a mummy.
posted by pracowity at 6:21 AM on November 22, 2008

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