It was bad enough worrying about getting coal in one's stocking. But a Louisiana man apparently went one better, with his "junk in a box" judged the worst gift of Christmas 1986 in a nationwide contest. Meanwhile, the best gift in the contest, which applauded the thoughtful over the glamorous, was a dictionary given to an aspiring writer. The collection of junk went to a woman who wrote that her husband hustled to the local five-and-dime store at the last minute and gave her a cardboard box filled with "an atrocious kerosene lamp, a pair of knee stockings that varicose veins never permitted me to wear, a man's plastic comb, a can of hair spray to which I am allergic, a pair of underwear three sizes too large and a cheap cardboard picture of a fat bald-headed man sitting in a boat fishing. He could not understand why I wasn't ecstatic." The dictionary went to Marie Duquette of Novi, Mich., who was resigning a secure job to try her hand as a writer. The book came with a note attached: "You're going to do fine. You're doing the right thing. I believe in you." "Only a true friend could have known how badly I needed to hear that," Duquette said. The contest was sponsored by Alternatives, a Georgia-based group that promotes "living and celebrating more responsibly and less consumptively."