Like any newspaper, we get bombarded at the holiday season with gift guide ideas from hardworking public relations people.

This year, we decided to winnow the scores of publicity requests we got by challenging PR people to turn their product pitches into poems.

It turns out, we’ll never mistake a typical flack for Shakespeare, but we have to admit they are game.

When they heard our request, these PR poets who didn’t know it tapped into their inner bards and churned out haikus, limericks and free verse odes touting everything from a luxury armpit deodorant dispenser to high-tech sex toys to a beach umbrella anchor (beach umbrella not included).

We’re not necessarily recommending that you actually buy any of these products, but we have to admire the effort put into these poems, the best of dozens of responses to our Public Relations Poetic Pitch Gift Guide Challenge:

From Andria Waclawski, of the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum, came this limerick to tell us about the unusual natural history gifts at the museum’s gift shop in Falcon Heights.

There once was a curious shop

Selling stardust, fossils — nature’s crop

Add in sketchbooks and tardigrades

(and other fare, locally made)

And your gifts will be those to top.

 A series of rhyming couplets came from Amanda Keller touting a pain relief cream, in lavender or regular scent. These were one of several pitches we got featuring cannabidiol (better known as CBD), a nonintoxicating substance in marijuana.

Feeling in pain but wanting something pure?

Save your stomach and reach for Elixicure.

Pain, inflammation, tension or arthritis?

They’ve got CBD — but no THC — so anyone can try this.

Speaking of marijuana, this is part of a poem sent by Sarah Toay on behalf of a catnip line called Meowijuana sold by Minnesota pet food retailer Chuck & Don’s:

As we prepare for Christmas and Hanukkah,

Don’t forget your cat ­meowijuan-ukkah,

You can find it at Chuck & Don-ukkah’s,

It will help your cat calm down-ukkah.

(The pitch included this disclaimer: “The products shown and mentioned are 100 percent Organic Catnip — not marijuana! Catnip is 100 percent safe for cats. Please DO NOT give your cats actual marijuana.”)

We got multiple PR poems inspired by the beloved holiday chestnut, “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” But instead of dancing sugar plums, these poems extolled Lexus sedans with oversized bows on the roof, even more CBD cream, and courtesy of rhymesayer Natalie Martin, Turdcules, an odor-masking “toilet elixir”:

’Twas the night of the party,

And all through the house ...

Your friends were all stirring,

And so were your bowels.

Amanda Jacobsmeyer wrote a series of haikus dedicated to a “try before you buy” online shopping platform including:


You don’t have to pay until

You are sure it fits


Please get back to me

If you have any questions

Boilerplate below

Another haiku by Erin Mortara was inspired by sushi. Or at least by a battery-powered game called Flying Sushi Kitchen:

Flying Sushi. Go.

Pluck the food from the air

Use chopsticks to win.

Caren Begun wanted us to know about the Noblo, a beach umbrella anchor that’s essentially a sack that you fill with sand (beach umbrella and sand not included). Here’s two of the nine haikus she wrote explaining why you should have it:

Just this past summer

Windswept umbrellas impaled

Cutting through the skin


New Jersey mom, nurse

Made Noblo Buddy Anchor

Umbrellas now safe

Helmm is a subscription-based luxury men’s deodorant and antiperspirant that comes in a manly, nickel-plated, laser-engraved, zinc alloy holder wrapped with hand-stitched leather. Thus opined Zachary Anderson:

From morning to night,

There’s no better underarm

protection in sight.

Morgan Bush versified about another form of protection, a special condom offer from Durex:

We have brand-new ­condoms in a fancy red tin

(One that you can reuse to put cookies in) …

With a portion of all proceeds going to AIDS/HIV

It’s the perfect gift to put under the tree.

So give the gift of condoms this year.

Have sex, save lives; spread holiday cheer.

Petsies will make you a custom plush doll made to resemble your own living (or once living) pet, according to an ode by Melissa Headley:

They’re a keepsake you’ll hold forever dear,

Even when your pets are far or near.

Handmade from a photo of the pet you love most,

It’s a look-alike stuffed animal you can always hold close.

Isaac Sorensen wrote us a haiku about the pie-inspired Confection Collection being sold by Edwards Dessert. The nonedible merchandise includes a pie-themed cardigan sweater, candles and wrapping paper:

Edwards makes crème pie

Great dessert brings inner “piece”

Pie gifts create more peace

Did you know you can pledge your allegiance to flags that represent the city of St. Paul and the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood? Local geographer Bill Lindeke has them for sale at Sidewalk Paraphenalia suitable for flying at your house:

Here’s to the old Dome and Wheel

Flying with St. Paul appeal!

Or the blue and white vibes

Of Nordeastern tribes.

From Jill Hagara, came a couple of limericks. One described Mimic, a rechargeable, waterproof “portable personal massager,” and the other touted a book called “The Ultimate Guide to Bondage.” Here are excerpts:

Mimic sex toy, shaped like a Manta Ray

Used mostly by women but for guys, that’s OK

Mistress Couple is the author,

Many tied-up positions on offer