Ahh, the annual white elephant gift exchange: a time-honored tradition during the Christmas season. The challenge of a good white elephant gift, of course, is to find something that’s obnoxious, but strangely attractive. It should be something that you don’t really want, but can’t really give away either.

After some thought, this year I decided to make a gift of five dollars in cold hard cash.

In pennies.

Taped together.

Zack and I carefully placed 500 pennies on a single strip of packing tape, then placed another strip of tape opposite. This sealed the pennies nicely, making them a real pain to extract. All told, the strip was around thirty feet long. I rolled it into a nice spool and placed it in a box.

Disclaimer: this idea isn’t actually all that new. Back in high school I owed my friend Bech around ten dollars after a bad night at poker, so I took 200 nickels and put them inside a strip of duct tape in the same fashion as this. Not to be outdone by my cleverness, Bech paid off later poker debts by tearing off pieces of the tape: if he owed fifty cents, he’d count off ten nickels’ worth of duct tape and hand over that part. Nice.