White Elephants

We've all seen them. In fact, they're pretty common this time of year. (Well, this time of year a few weeks ago. I've been a little slow on the blogging-idea-to-published-blog lately.) Anyway, if they're done right, these type are one of Kyler's and my favorite.

What I'm speaking of, of course, are white elephants. White Elephant parties, that is. You know, a holiday party with a gift exchange. Not just any gift exchange, mind you. This is a gift exchange where re-gifting** is okay. In fact, it's not just acceptable, it's encouraged. Or at least in my opinion, it should be, if you want a fun party.

**Aside: Do you re-gift? We do...frequently. It's the only way we manage to have gifts for all the various events we attend, and when your kids have officially entered "birthday party age," as ours have, and your husband is a youth pastor, in addition to knowing everyone within a 90-mile radius... (Well, almost. For a fact we hardly ever go to Wal-Mart without stopping to chat with a dozen people Kyler knows.) Anyway, you get the idea. It's a lot of events.

So back to White Elephant gift exchanges. There are many variations. The gist of it is: you draw numbers for the gift-opening order. You open gifts, with each subsequent gift-opener having the option of "stealing" a previously opened gift. Chaos and laughter ensues. The gifts are - or should be - totally useless or just plain ridiculous.

Sadly, some folks just get it all wrong. Well, in my opinion anyway. Kyler and I once went to a work Christmas party that boasted a fantastic "White Elephant" gift exchange. Boy, were we in for a surprise! When it came time for the exchange, you should have seen the look on Kyler's and my face when the first present opened was a bottle of wine. I'm not kidding. The presents just got fancier. I was mortified.** I'd wrapped up one of those giant Hershey's kisses that a student gave me for Christmas earlier that day. HA!

**Aside: For the record, I am not terribly hopeless. There was NO indication that the presents were going to be so fancy! No monetary limit or anything, like some invites suggest. It only indicated that there would be a White Elephant gift exchange. Oh well. 

I happen to think that White Elephants are most enjoyable when the gifts in question are re-gifts. And the more ridiculously outrageous, the better. For example, some of my favorites have included:

-- an enormous, fake, flowered, lighted topiary. Who gives something that hideous to a college student?! The best part? The person who opened it - another college student - was incredulous that anyone would be giving something "so beautiful!" away. My roommate and I could hardly contain our laughter....

-- Another college campus ministry exchange yielded an "annual" gift. You know, the kind of gift worthy of re-gifting and passing around year after year in the same gathering. This gift was the perfect gag for a Christian campus ministry group: a small, green, foot-high Buddha statue. We took him home and kept him on our porch, dressing him up for all of the holidays throughout the year.

-- This year's moment of hilarity happened when our worship pastor's son decided to join in the exchange at a party and opened, much to his utter disbelief and adolescent horror, a very large, pink box full of nursing pads! Oh my, the laughter was deafening. So. Very. Funny. As one of only two nursing mothers in the room, I'm proud to say I swooped in and "took one for the team," rescuing the poor kid from his humiliation and "stealing" the gift away. Besides, it has great White Elephant re-gifting potential, don't you think?

Ahhh, so fun.

So I need some more ideas! I'm curious, what sorts of absurd gifts have you given or received at White Elephant parties? I could always use a few more great ideas!

Now, what to do with this year's gifts???

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