*disclaimer* – my son was delirious with fever last night, so i stayed up until almost 4am keeping an eye on him while he tossed and turned and mumbled about Roblox. all is well. he’s better today. i, however, cannot be held responsible for whatever i am about to write. brain function: minimal
i grew up my whole life going to White Elephant parties. when i say “my whole life”, i actually mean it. there was a toilet seat that got passed around for 10 years. everyone who ended up with it, had to write their name and the date on it. my family got it twice. it wasn’t until i left the Northwest that i knew this particular Christmas festivity had other names. Naughty Santa, Bad Santa…these were brand new terms to me.
whatever you call it, the result is the same. good gifts, bad gifts, funny gifts, toilet seats, people arguing about the rules for whoever draws number 1…
number 1 gets to swap out for any gift frozen or unfrozen. it’s written on a stone tablet somewhere, i’m pretty sure.
and the ever raging debate…is it “unwrap, stolen, frozen” or “unwrap, stolen, stolen, frozen”? i’m a “3 set of hands only” girl. so “unwrap, stolen, frozen”. if you play this at my house, you play by my rules or you don’t get any cider.
growing up, White Elephant parties were taken very seriously. sometimes there were even awards given for best present. oh yes, you heard me. Craig and i are very good at this. very. good. we’ve been known to buy gifts months in advance because we found the “right thing”.
here’s some rules for being the hero at a White Elephant party:
1. funny must be real funny: reindeer pooping chocolate jelly beans? funny. cat butt refrigerator magnets? real funny. you must be willing to commit.
2. good must be real good: sampler set from Starbucks? good. boutique dark chocolate salted caramels? real good. if you are going to go with a gift people want, make it something they extra super want.
3. bad must be real bad: a box of Christmas cards from 10 years ago? bad. Whole Chicken in a Can with a 64oz cup topper of Luke Skywalker stuck to the top? real bad. again, you must commit.
4. the bait and switch: this is not for the faint of heart. it must be wrapped very nicely. maybe even professionally. and it must contain something horrifying when opened. best example: our friend Graeme brought a beautifully wrapped gift that contained a douche kit. that’s all that was seen when it was opened. and it was a real douche kit. nothing hidden in the box. but masterfully taped to the bottom was the new Coldplay record. this was a long time ago when Coldplay was still a thing, so it was highly prized. but to reap the reward, the recipient had to carry around a douche kit, which was a prize for us all.
my friend Graeme later drank the douche wash on a bet. you’re welcome.
if you are hosting, it is a good idea to have a few extra gifts in case people show up without one (always happens). it is also thoughtful and kind to have substitute gifts of low quality chocolates for those who get stuck with “bad gifts”. while funny at first, leaving with half a box of Kleenex is kind of bummer. a Whitman’s Sampler is better than nothing.
any other rules for White Elephant parties?
what is it called where you’re from?
what is the worst/best thing you have ever received at one of these ridiculous to-dos?