White Elephants

One of my favorite Christ­mas Eve tra­di­tions is the white ele­phant gift exchange. It can be done with any num­ber of peo­ple, but it seems to work best with about a dozen. The basic idea is that every per­son brings a wrapped gift within a cer­tain price range (re-gifting is fine — even encour­aged). Depend­ing on the crowd, the gifts can range from the quite nice to the very odd. I, of course, gen­er­ally go for the lat­ter. Each per­son then draws a num­ber to deter­mine play order. When it’s your turn, you can choose to either open a wrapped gift or steal an already unwrapped gift from a pre­vi­ous player. Steal­ing can set off a chain reac­tion, as the theft vic­tim then gets the same choice of unwrap­ping or stealing.

This year, my mom and I cel­e­brated Christ­mas Eve with a group of friends in Car­son City. We had a mas­sive col­lab­o­ra­tive din­ner (12 peo­ple, 6 of whom cooked and/or baked), and set­tled in to do our white ele­phant game after dessert. A fair amount of steal­ing went on, as well as some much com­plained about — but per­fectly legal — fam­ily col­lu­sion. My mom ended up with a B.B. King 2-CD set, and I got a pocket elec­tronic Yahtzee game. My gift entry, which I’m sur­prised to say was actu­ally desir­able enough to change hands at least once, was this:

It’s not just a fig­urine of a cow­boy using an out­house — it’s a Christ­mas fig­urine of a cow­boy using an out­house. “And where does one pur­chase such a thing?” one might ask. Why, at one of this country’s finest retail­ers, of course: Wal­mart. It’s part of a whole line of “Cow­boy Christ­mas” items, most of which seem to have lit­tle or noth­ing to do with Christ­mas. I must say, there was a lot of awful crap under $10 to choose from at Wal­mart, but I knew as soon as I found this that I had a winner.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment