Every year, millions of Americans have to face the most difficult question of the entire holiday season: What gift should I send to that special someone doing time? The difficulty of this task is occasioned by the mountains of rules and security regulations that must be carefully considered before picking something for the convicted relative or lover. To help make it easier for you, we've compiled this definitive list of gifts that will not only meet the strictest of security requirements, but will surely bring a small smile to the forlorn face of your locked-up loved one.


The thing that men in prison want most from their lady friends is a Polaroid photo of their -- how shall we put this -- "coochy." Any Polaroid camera will do the trick, but experts especially recommend the One Step 600, which goes for around $40, with a pack of 10 exposures costing $25. Dousing the photo with cheap perfume is an especially nice touch (may we recommend Elizabeth Taylor's Diamonds and Ice?), but be liberal -- the scent has to last for a very long time. Note: Before sending the photo, cut off its borders and peel off the black backing. If you fail to do this, security will certainly reject the photo, suspecting that something illegal has been inserted into the bulging borders.

Polaroid cameras can be purchased at your local Fred Meyer.


Nothing makes a prisoner feel more at home than a pair of comfortable boxers. We highly recommend bright-colored Savile Row flannel boxers (they must be brightly-colored because dark clothing is forbidden in the big house, lest an inmate use them to hide himself during an attempt at freedom). Savile Row boxers are all cotton and cost a mere $7.50 a pair. Underclothes are very popular with the incarcerated, and usually make it through security inspection with little difficulty or notice (outer clothing, on the other hand, is a pain -- if you wanted to send a jacket, it would have to be hoodless, zipperless, and inside-pocketless).

Boxers available at Bon Marche, Third & Pine, 506-6000.


Nothing brightens up an otherwise gray and depressing prison cell like flowers. An arrangement of plain flowers (like red roses) can be purchased over the phone for delivery or from your local grocery store, and rarely costs more than $20. For an added touch, husbands and boyfriends, it might be nice to include a photo of your "ding-a-ling."

Purchase from your local QFC, Safeway, or Fred Meyer.


If you must send something other than the flowers, try Ladies Route 66 bikini-style panties, which are pretty, yet plain enough that they won't alarm the guards. (Don't even try to send any sexy stuff!)

Gift box available for $4.99 at your local K-Mart store.