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Friday, December 23, 2011

How To: Winning a White Elephant Gift Exchange

Deck the halls with boughs of holly...fa la la la la, la la la la.
'Tis the season to be jolly...fa la la la la, la la la la.
Don we now our gay apparel...also known as tacky Christmas sweaters.

It's that time of the year again...Tacky Christmas Sweater parties, fruit cake jokes, mistletoe hung in inappropriate places, & White Elephant gift exchanges.

Jacob & I have always considered ourselves a fairly skilled team when it comes to White Elephants parties. Somehow we always seem to walk away feeling satisfied with the gifts we have received: suggestively shaped cacti, old school Christmas CDs, a gingerbread house kit, a balloon architecture kit, etc. We didn't just get lucky to get those gifts though, no, we strategized. The keys to winning at a White Elephant party are teamwork, predicting the number of steals, showing no interest in the gift you want, and ultimately, the steal. Under normal rules, we are almost always able to end up with at least one gift we have our hearts set on. This year was a bit different though.

We attended two White Elephant parties. The first was for our job site. We had a wonderful dinner at The Grove followed by the customary 'select gift,'have gift stolen,' 'steal someone else's gift,' repeat. I walked away with a couple of DVDs (Dumb & Dumber and A Christmas Story) & a desk-size bean bag toss game (aka Washers). A few days earlier I had mentioned to Jacob that we should pick up a copy of A Christmas Story, so I was quite happy with my loot. Jacob came out the big winner: a 750 ml bottle of Crown. Teamwork people! Since technically I won the gift, I'm re-gifting it to him & it's wrapped under the tree now. You're welcome, Jacob.

The second party was a bit more challenging. Tiffany & her roommate, Alex, throw a Tacky Christmas Sweater/White Elephant gift exchange party every year. (How cute are we dressed in our matching turtle necks?) As we all settled into our seats, Alex started to tell us the rules. And wouldn't you know it, she changed them on us! Everyone knows the rules of a White Elephant gift exchange, right? No immediate steal-backs & only two steals per gift. Apparently I've taken for granted that those rules are not ones that everyone lives by. Apparently you can decide that you want no immediate steal-backs, that there is no limit on the number of times a gift is stolen (gasp), and that after a gift is stolen, the gift-less party goer can't steal another person's gift (the horror)!

Some great gifts (a 'Hunger Games' picnic bag & a 'Lord of the Rings' Pez dispenser set) & some awful gifts ('Paulie' on laser disk & awful cheap perfume) circulated through the group.While we REALLY REALLY wanted the Hunger Games picnic bag, we walked away with an Egyptian mummy night light, a frisbee promoting "The Room" (apparently one of the worst movies ever made), and a circus character waffle iron. (Can you tell that everyone else at the party works in the film industry?)

Maybe I should add another key component to winning a White Elephant: perspective. Um...my mom is visiting for Christmas & I'll plug in the nightlight so she doesn't get scared in the dark...so...score? Jacob & I love to play frisbee at the beach...so...score. And we had waffles for breakfast the morning after the party...SCORE! We win!

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