On Saturday night we went to a “white elephant” party hosted by some friends of ours. Every year they hold this party the night before the Superbowl. The timing is not random, because this gives people a month to have received off the wall Xmas presents that they may not want to hang on to. The mechanics are the same as the “yankee swap” they did at my company’s Xmas party. Everyone brings one thing and puts it in the pile. People pick a gift from the pile and then subsequent people either steal a gift or pick a new one from the pile. The one on Saturday was highly odd in that not one person stole in the entire 20 rounds. That was either a triumph of optimism in that people assume that there is better stuff coming up next, or an indictment of exactly how bad all the already opened gifts really were.
I won’t mention what we took out of delicacy for those who might have given us something that ended up in the pile. What I personally got rocked, though. I went for a larger and heavier package, and when I opened it up it was a small Cuisinart food processor duct taped to hot air popcorn popper. The Cuisinart is the miniature version of the Cuisinart we already have, and I’ve been thinking about buying a hot air popper anyway. In my case, it worked out to more like a swap meet because I might well have picked the same thing even if I had known what it was. In fact, if someone before me had gotten it I might have stolen it. Last year at the party I got a Xmas tree ornament of a kicking bull, which is kind of more what you expect from the “white elephant” party – some goofy piece of crap that almost no one is really going to want. This year I got utilitarian stuff that I’ll be pressing into service very soon. Lucky lucky me.