December 19th, 2006

monkey pirate

Have I mentioned the hating Christmas thing?

We had what seemed, on the face of it, to be a good idea - a nerd gift exchange. We'd all grab something nerdy out of the closet - one of those games that you bought, thought was super cool, and never actually played.

Unfortunately, it devolved into a half an hour of quibbling over the rules by which the exchange would occur - ultimately resulting in a complicated unwrap-steal-resteal-swap process. I hate these sorts of gift-stealing games - inevitably I get screwed. And I mean it - it's magical. At the two company parties that I've been to, I ended up in one case with a CD of Italian pop songs sung by Fabio that someone bought at a gas-station and wrapped in tin-foil that still had sandwich residue on it - and at this year's shin-dig, with nothing. Because there were more employees than gifts, so if you got your name pulled early, someone else would take your gift and you'd end up empty-handed. Joy. (I was much mollified by the fact that everyone got an iPod shuffle, which is pretty much awesome.) True to form, last night there was exactly one gift on the table that was totally lame - and I had a completely awesome pirate lamp (!!!) stolen from me in exchange for the one thing on the table no one wanted. Ironically, had we just done it secret-santa style, I probably would have thought it was pretty cool.

The problem with this format is - if you just exchange gifts secret-santa style everyone gets a present, and you get what you get and you just sit there and appreciate. But when you do the gift-stealing thing, you look around at what everyone else got, and instead of just appreciating what a thoughtful gift it was - you end up wanting it for yourself. And then if, like me, you are super-triple-jesus--hates-me-christmas-cursed - you end up with something even crappier than what you initially got - and walked away annoyed. And in fact, almost everyone will feel that they didn't get what they *really* wanted, but were somehow robbed instead. And honestly, is that a good feeling to leave a gift exchange with? So that's it - from now one I'm boycotting these stupid things. You want to steal each other's gifts - fine, go the fuck ahead and do it. Leave me out of it - I'm going to give people presents, and I damn well expect them to keep the presents I give them, not have them stolen by some other avaricious tannenbaum-burglar. If I get you something - you're going to have a merry fucking Christmas - or else!

I did, however, get one decent laugh - I got everyone in the Monday night nerd group a gift card for Barnes and Noble - on nice pirate-cards, too. I put 'em all in gift boxes, but didn't mark any of them with names or amounts. I made a couple of obscure marks on the outsides of the boxes, and told everyone that the cards ranged in value from $5 to $50 - and the marks were a clue as to the actual value. Of course, the marks didn't mean anything, and they were all worth $10 anyway - but it amused me to see a few people peering very intently trying to observe the differences. Maybe that makes me a bad person? Probably - when it comes to Christmas, I can not win. It is known.
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