Lumps of coal for Christmas

Looking for a gag gift for someone on your Christmas list? Palmer Coking Coal Co. has a “dark” suggestion.

The Black Diamond company is continuing its annual tradition of giving out free lumps of coal. Donations will be accepted as a fund-raiser for Vine Maple Place, a non-profit, Maple Valley-based housing program for homeless mothers and their children, but otherwise the gift-wrapped lumps are anyone’s to pass along.

Palmer Coking Coal is at 31407 State Route 169.

Bill Kombol, manager of the company that sells landscape products, said that the “gift” of a lump of coal for misbehaving children is part of English, Danish and Italian folklore. In addition, a Scottish New Year’s tradition holds that if a tall, dark stranger comes through your door carrying a lump of coal, it is said to be good luck, according to Kombol. Another tradition claims the lump of coal is the fuel that warms eternity for those who misbehave.