Where are all the elephants?

16 12 2012

Every year a friend of ours throws a white elephant Christmas party. Being a good friend, we would go regardless, just for the visit, but we’ve come to learn that the party never fails to disappoint, either.

Have you ever been to a white elephant? They can be hit or miss.  The key: the participants. White elephant parties are all about the gifts…and about the stealing. People have to be willing to get into it. And they can’t be big cry babies when they unwrap just what they’ve always wanted and the next person pounces over the couch, through a pile of children and under the coffee table to snatch it out of their shocked hands.

We had thirty something guests, making for quite a wild time. Booze was flowing, people were laughing, anticipation was building. J and I, unfortunately, held up the whole process since we were the last to arrive, so the party jumped into action as soon as our coats were off. Gather ’round, folks, its GO TIME.

The first 14 people picked new presents. What the hell were they thinking??? Being number 15, I changed the game and stole a girl’s hot pink ’80s ski bibs. Take that!! She stole someone else’s skateboarding lawn gnome, and game faces began appearing across the crowd. Before long, key items were being stolen, snatched, re-stolen, passed back and forth, won and lost. Unbridled joy and disgusted contempt passed across the same faces in the matter of moments as they would win back the super soaker only to have it taken again.

The much-coveted item last year was a gigantic Hannah Montana pinata that didn’t survive 10 min after the present exchange was over. (It was not only beat to pieces for the crappy candy inside, but also stomped, kicked, broken and lit on fire.)

Hanna Montana pinata

It didn’t burn well. And the candy was gross. But EVERYONE wanted this bad boy!!

This year, the gifts somehow got even better!! Several changed hands more times than a blonde in a frat house, including my neon ski pants. Also popular were several gnomes, a dart board shot game, the super-soaker, a clapper (J was SUPPOSED TO STEAL IT BACK), and a lovely lavender Snuggie with peace signs all over it. Surprisingly, the alcohol was not a big hit. After getting the shot darts stolen from me, I unwrapped the best gift EVAH – a betta fish! He even came with food!! I immediately named him Julius Caesar and started thinking of containers I could put him in so he could sit next to Spartacus on the table at home.

My pirate-hooker lovely friend Kristen stole him away. I didn’t even get the chance to steal him back. She tried to remember his name, but by night’s end, he was christened Julius Cornelius Bob Ceasar. Bob for short. What did I end up with? The last unwrapped gift, which is ALWAYS a terrible idea. But the same people kept going in circles stealing back all the same things, so I took the chance. And ended up with two pairs of underwear. At least they were women’s underwear. We also ended up with an extra gift, so the kind host threw in the $10 Starbucks giftcard with my fancy new polka-dot drawers.

As we sipped vodka drinks and ate buckets of jalepeno artichoke dip and stuck everything edible we could find into the chocolate fountain (cheetos dipped in chocolate is not tasty, fyi), we held highly educated discussions with our highly sophisticated friends. Such conversations included the merits of used clothing from Goodwill, which turned into a discussion about my sweet friend’s ginorous Christmas sweater vest and whether or not it was made for one or two people, which turned into a very scientific test to see just which it was. I can say without a shadow of doubt that her sweater vest does, in fact, hold one blonde and one brunette at the same time, buttoned up, as long as said participants remain in a bear hug. I’m sure you get the idea of how the rest of the evening progressed.

The party slowly died down to just those of us crashing on our beloved host’s floor. The hostess’s sister and brother-in-law called dibs on the spare bedroom, so J and I took the air mattress. Snuggled up under the quilts, surrounded by great friends (literally – one on the floor next to me, one on the couch at my head, the other on the couch on the other side of the gal on the floor!), my sleepy brain couldn’t leave one fact alone….

Where were all the elephants? That would be the best present of all!


white elephant

This is what I was REALLY hoping to find under the tree!




Give it to me straight -

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