Conflicted

Last night’s holiday party at Sylvan was more pleasant than I thought. Despite the 95% Armenian attendance, we ate Chinese food and people remembered to speak in English most of the time. Of course I was happy just because I brought my family and everyone fell in love with the red-headed angel (who really was an angel.) With a huge buffet of food (with very little sugar), a small group, and only three pregnant women, I’d say the night was a definite success!

We ended with a white elephant gift exchange. Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but where I’m from “white elephant” means take-your-chances-because-this-item-is-either-regifted-or-has-been-hanging-around-in-a-closet-for-ten-years. That’s half the fun, the whole junk/treasure thing. I still remember the white elephant gift exchange at our percussion parties and how at my last party I got the final steal, and stole the coveted Jeff Foxworthy book from Dr. Taylor. (A prized possession, I assure you!)

When they announced that we’d have a white elephant gift exchange with a $10 limit I had no reason to assume things would be different this time. But they were. I regifted something my husband brought home from a holiday party/metting he had attended the night before (a waterglobe picture frame thing) and someone else gave a paint-by-number, but there were some who didn’t stay within the $10 limit (silver Lenox vase, gorgeous frames, crystal Mikasa candlesticks,) and several gifts were gift cards. I went home with a Barnes and Noble gift card from a game of pictionary and a gift card for In-N-Out from the gift exchange. I’m really excited because our family loves books, and although I try not to eat out very often, I love In-N-Out, too (and they are a better choice than McDonald’s and Burger King.) But I feel a little ripped off … gift cards take the fun out of the gift exchange, and now I feel guilty about that tacky Costco waterglobe. Maybe I should buy Arno a gift card and leave it in his box apologetically … ?

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7 thoughts on “Conflicted

  1. Mystery gift exchanges can be fun. (And it sure sounds better than the sock exchange I read about on another blog.) Years back I got a musical snow globe with a scene from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Tacky? Maybe, but to this day it’s Ben’s favourite Christmas decoration and it goes proudly on display every year.

  2. i love white elephant gift parties if everybody abides by the rules. i so snagged a milli vanilli cd after the great scam was revealed.

    people who don’t play by the rules ARE the white elephants in the rules! grrrr.

  3. You know, Karen made a really good point. What you might find tacky, the other person might love. The gift card thing does seem to be a bit of a cop-out. Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it, its the fun a spirit of it all that really matters. Maybe he can regift it next year and 20 years down the road it will be still floating around (which to me would be absolutely hillarious).

  4. You have to remember, you live in the LA area. NO ONE ever goes by the rules for gifts. Everyone does gift cards, and white elephant gifts aren’t known by most of the people there. Don’t feel bad about regifting. We did with all of our doubles from our wedding. (That was the beauty of being married first out of all of our friends.) Also, since you do live in LA, tacky is the new in…don’t you remember? 😀

  5. That same thing happened at my work party 2 weeks ago!!! They said to bring a $5 white elephant gift, which to me means whatever is laying around the house that cost aroundish $5. We put this little wire tree that’s been kicking around for awhile in a HUGE beautifully wrapped box! The gifts were picked by random numbers. I thought that only the adults would be participating, but kids were too, and a small kid ended up with the wire tree! I felt so bad! He looked like he was going to cry!!! And most of the other people had wrapped up good presents!

    Granted, someone else gave away a jar of pickles, and we ended up with an obviously re-gifted scarf, so we weren’t the only ones that missed the memo that White Elephant gift exchanges have changed! 🙂

    I like them better the way they use to be!

    (For the party we were originally going to go to the pet store and buy a gold fish and fish food and then box them up really nice so that someone would go home with a new pet! We ran out of time to put that together…It would have been hysterical!!!)

  6. If it is called a White Elephant gift exchange with a dollar limit given and other people don’t abide by the rules, don’t you feel bad! You played by the rules! One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Hence White Elephant sales at bazaars etc. That’s the fun of it. [Perhaps the rules need clarification nowadays?]

  7. I think people have forgotten what a white elephant gift exchange is all about. Like a few other’s have said they might need clarification of the rules.

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