"To be Irish is to know that in the end the world will break your heart." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

(Some of you may have seen bits and pieces of this story or a few of these pictures via Facebook. Here is the complete story.)

One of the new things our extended family tried this year was a name-drawing gift exchange. At Thanksgiving, everyone who wished to participate tossed their name into a hat and pulled out someone else’s. The rules of the gift exchange were that gifts had to cost less than $10 and had to be either used, made, or modified — in other words, no straight off-the-shelf items.

I drew Morgan’s name. A while back Morgan told me she wanted a reading light for the table next to her bed, and at one point in time I think she said she wanted a Barbie one. With that to go on, this is what I came up with.

I started with these three items: a Barbie head ($1.99 from Goodwill) and two project lightbulbs, complete with cords ($2.99/each). With tax, I was still about a buck under the spending limit.

The first step was to drill Barbie’s eyeballs out with a power drill.

This felt as odd as it looks. After drilling out her eye sockets and a hole in the back of her head through which I could run the cords, I proceeded to dremmel out the holes a bit. There was no part of this that felt normal.

With the holes widened, all that was left was sliding the sockets in through the rear of Barbie’s head, using the included clips to fasten them in place, and screw in the bulbs.

The sight of Barbie “staring” at me as best she could with no eyeballs was unnerving at best, so I took a black Sharpie and marked out one of her teeth to lighten the mood.


With the lights in place the only thing left to do was to try it out. Since the cords were already pre-wired there was little that could go wrong, and sure enough the lights lit right up. What little girl wouldn’t want this on her nightstand next to her bed?

The light was placed in a sack and set aside until it was time to exchange gifts. Shortly before I handed her the sack I explained to Morgan what a gag gift was, and told her that the day after Christmas I would take her to the store to buy a real version of the gift.

Anyway, enough of the padding — here’s Morgan opening the gift.

She really wasn’t upset by the gift; if anything, she was embarrassed by the attention (which is funny, because she’s a ham).

People are always talking about the real meaning of Christmas. I’m here to tell you, if drilling the eyeballs out of a Barbie doll and installing custom lighting into her face in the name of making a little girl (and a room full of people) laugh isn’t it… okay well maybe that isn’t it, but we had a good time anyway.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

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5 Responses to “Morgan’s Barbie Reading Lamp (w/ video)”

  1. liz says:

    what a dad

  2. GW says:

    Ah-ha! I thought it was an actual Barbie doll. Now it makes a LOT more sense. Awesome (and now Mattel will start pumping them out as Monster High re-skins and not need to pay you a dime. Oops!)…

  3. p.j. says:

    That was fantastic. Merry Xmas!

  4. ladyjaye says:

    Awesome gift!

  5. Patty says:

    This is still my favorite story. I have shared it with friends at work. They appreciate your humor as much as i do! lol

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