When I think of the holidays and the Lottery, I always think of my Mom buying scratch tickets while in line at the grocery store. She would scratch and win, scratch and win then let it ride on another ticket. One day it paid off, and we upgraded our shopping trip.

This was before the Montana Lottery kiosks, so you can imagine the line in the checkout aisle.

I recently heard that the Montana Lottery pays out more than $48,000 a day (on average) to its winners, so I started thinking about who I'd buy Montana Lottery scratch tickets for as Christmas gifts.

MOM would top the list, but they'd also be cool for coworkers, those neighbors who don't hesitate to clear your sidewalk with their snowblowers — and of course, friends you could trust to share their winnings (if they were so lucky).

Montana Lottery has three special holiday scratch games, each costing $1 or $2, so they are easy stocking stuffers (For adults! Must be 18 to play) or a little something extra to slip into a card.

In the spirit of the holiday, I gifted myself one and scratched it off at work:

You can tell by my face, I wasn't an instant winner:

Maybe next time, right? In the meantime, I can tell you I expect anyone who wins on a scratch ticket I give them to buy a little something extra for me. ;)

As you start (or wrap up) your holiday shopping, grab some Lottery tickets. It could lead to a story your friends and family will still be telling after New Year's!