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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.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 19th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
Listen, Ebenezer, Christmas is FUN dammit! How do I know this? Because I sat through a Christmas play this morning titled "Santa Was Tired" in which Elizabeth's class sang Holly Jolly Christmas. And because I was up until midnight last night making candy. And because our Christmas tree only has ornaments on the top half, where Arthur can't reach them.

Dec. 19th, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, delightful.
Dec. 19th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
The weird thing is... It actually was delightful. The holidays are a whole different thing with kids around. Just you wait. When you have kids of your own you can make a big deal out of something like Talk Like a Pirate Day and they will think you are the Coolest Dad Ever. They love stuff like that.

That said, I always get screwed over in gift exchanges, too.
Dec. 19th, 2006 07:21 pm (UTC)
Hee, another small Arthur who would like to grab ornaments off Christmas trees if he could reach them? We have one of those ourselves (an Arthur, that is - we're getting our tree tomorrow or the next day, so as to give him less time to destroy it).
Dec. 19th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
You can't win. Our tree looked fabulous for about a day and a half. Now it just looks silly. That's toddlers for you.

It's a good thing they are cute, isn't it?

Dec. 20th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
It is... Our Arthur is 18 months - how old is yours?
Dec. 20th, 2006 10:47 pm (UTC)
Our Arthur turns 2 on February 24th. I shudder to think what the Terrible Twos are going to bring! He threw a ball at the mantle and took out my little hand painted Victorian village! Little opera houses, trees and carolers flying everywhere! It was like a meteor strike!

He better buy me a condo on Maui when he is pitching for the Dodgers!
Dec. 19th, 2006 07:36 pm (UTC)
Dec. 19th, 2006 07:41 pm (UTC)
...I say with this with the utmost respect... but that "santa" kinda looks like your sister.
Dec. 20th, 2006 07:23 am (UTC)
I knew it!
Dec. 20th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)

Honey, I know it sucks being the only kid with out a Christmas gift. I get screwed at these things too. I think it is wrong to do these types of games if there isn't enough gifts to go around; someone is going to feel left out. And I think it is wrong to make it like a competition or who can screw over whom. Even when you do get something more often than not, it is something cheaper than what you bought for someone else. Like when you give a gold necklace and get back a Dollar Store mug.

But remember the true spirit of Christmas isn't about getting gifts, it is about love. We express that through giving gifts and really should not expect anything in return, even though it is nice if we do get something. It should be the act of giving that makes us happy.

Now with that said, your Christmas present is going to be a little late.
Hugs and Kisses!
Dec. 20th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
It should be the act of giving that makes us happy.

Every other day of the y ear, this is true for me. I help out friends where I can, do birthdays, all that stuff - and it's not about getting something back, it's just about... being who I am.

But Christmas Day - what I do'nt like about it is that it's not about GIVING, it's about EXCHANGING. There's a built in expectation that you're getting something back- which is a built in way to be disappointed. I don't like it.
Dec. 27th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
Gift swap is a game. A game you might very well lose.

My friends and I play the variant where players can trade as much as they want, except they can't hold the same gift more than once in a round.

Player A can either open a present or take an already unwrapped present from anyone.
If Player A opens a present, turn passes to next player.
If Player A takes Player B's present, B can open a present, or take anyone else's present (C), except the present just stolen from them.
Player C can now take any present, including A's present, except the present just taken from them.
New round begins when a new present is opened.

It goes on for a while, but it's a lot of fun. It also means good presents are hot potatoes, snatched over and over in a round.
Dec. 27th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah well, it's a game I ALWAYS lose.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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