When I was trolling around looking for interesting "neighbor gifts," I came upon people who like to give food-storage items.

Some practical-minded folks out there choose to give gifts that can be stored away for a rainy (or snowy) day. It's true that a box of pasta or a can of tuna may not have much festive ambience, but at least they're useful and won't go right to your waistline or into the trash, as do so many plates of goodies.

While locally, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are into food storage, I suspect these kinds of ideas gained even more momentum during the Y2K frenzy of 1999.

So, as a nod to those who want their neighbors to be prepared (just so they can borrow stuff from them?), here are some food-storage gift ideas. And yes, people have actually given some of these items, including the rolls of toilet paper!

Some of the poems came from the USU Extension in Wayne County, which got them from a Hilton family, which got them from a sister-in-law, who thinks they were written by someone named Pat Braegger, who may not even recognize them since the words were likely changed every time they were passed along.

Canned soups. You can stack and glue them pyramid-style into a Christmas tree. "Have a souper holiday!"

Box of dried pasta: "Have a 'pasta-tively' happy holiday!"

Peanut butter: "Happy Food Storage from your nutty neighbors!"

Box of powdered milk: "This gift isn't fancy with satins and silk,

But in times of need, you'll always have milk!

Have an udderly moo-valous holiday!"

A can of tuna: "Here's a can of tuna fish,

Good for many a tasty dish;

Stores a long time on your shelf;

Feeds your family and yourself.

'It's a Christmas gift?' you say,

'Yes!' we answer right away.

You'll think of us when times get hard,

Amused, we're sure, but with regard."

Jar of honey: "A jar of honey is like money in the bank

Since you're the type of people

We'd really like to thank

For years of love and friendship

And the fact that you're so sweet,

We remember you with honey;

It's a Merry Christmas treat."

Gelatin: "If the times get hard,

You'll never have to cry

If you have some Jell-O

In your year's supply.

So we're giving you some

To kinda get you by."

Wheat: "Wheat for man, the scriptures say,

But have you put some wheat away

For future time and for rotation;

You could find wheat your salvation.

This wheat is for emergencies,

So add it to your storage, please,

From us, with fondest Christmas wishes

For lots of tasty bread and dishes."

Toilet paper: "Emergency! And you're prepared!

Because of some of us who cared

This gift ain't fancy, but no doubt,

It isn't good to be without."

Sugar: "We find you remarkably sweet,

And we're sure you occasionally eat

Some sugary food

To create such a mood.

So we're giving you this little treat."

P.S. The holiday season is still young — so if you have any other "neighbor gift" ideas you'd like to share (and they don't have to be food-storage related), e-mail them to me at the address below. We may end up with a whole new list of possibilities.

E-mail: vphillips@desnews.com