Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Mystery of the White Elephant

Tis the season for social gatherings, catching up with old friends, and even making new ones. It's a time for office parties, family events, and a one-on-one lunch with a bestie. Dare I say which element is my favorite? Hands down it has to be the traditional 'white elephant' gift exchange. No money can be spent, but the 'treasure' must be wrapped to entice its sometimes unwilling recipient. It's the once-a-year opportunity to discard of the something you have at home, that perhaps embarrasses you, or the thing you received as a gift but really aren't quite sure why.

This weekend I attended 2 of these functions with my husband which gave me the golden opportunity to choose 4 such beauties. One of my gifts was a no brainer ... I'd been waiting an entire year to wrap it. I won't say what it was for fear the original giver might be reading, but we'll just say it was out of left field and I'm really not sure why the giver thought it was the perfect gift for me.

The white elephant gift exchange isn't really a mystery ... it's a time honored tradition in some circles. The mystery lies in the thought process that goes into it. There will be the dust-collecting trinkets that won't embarrass anyone when unwrapped, but there will also be the singing bass, the farting pig, or the poo play-dough. And there will ALWAYS be that one gift that is of a questionable nature that NO ONE will ever admit to bringing. Yes, the mystery lies in the giver and their thought process. It's kind of like the person that wears a character suit at a theme park or a mascot costume out on the football field. Their identity remains a mystery. No words are ever spoken. The quiet, shy person can be the life of the party without ever uttering a word.

Some people will be intimidated by the gift exchange and others will go with the flow. It's generally all in good fun and just meant to be the ice-breaker of all ice-breakers. Have fun with it. Take the social process for what's intended: laughter and lowering of blood pressure brought on by holiday stresses.

What's the wackiest white elephant gift you ever received? Better yet, if you'll admit to it, what's the craziest gift you ever gave away?

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