Monday, October 5, 2009

White Elephant Gifts

This week the Word Quilters will tell about a white elephant gift exchange (sometimes these are called a Chinese gift exchange). They are great fun and if you've never participated in one, you might plan one for your holiday family gathering. In our family, we either try to find an outrageous gift at a garage sale, some atrocious thing from our own homes, or a really decent item that we no longer need.

I've given and received both. The exchange goes like this: everyone brings a wrapped gift fitting the above descriptions. The gifts are stacked in one place. If there are 20 gifts then the sequence of numbers from 1-20 are written on slips of paper and anyone who brought a gift picks a number. Whoever gets number 1 gets to select the first gift from the pile. He opens it and shows it to everyone. The number 2 person gets to take the first gift opened or choose a new gift to open. Numbers 2-20 can take any gift opened ahead of them or open a new gift. Of course number 20 has the advantage because they can chose any of the 20 gifts opened before them. If your gift is taken, you get to chose another wrapped gift. We don't let number one have another chance at the end of the game like some families. This is probably explained better somewhere else on the Internet--if you need the rules. We are often accused of making the rules as we play.

I've given away some really tacky things such as very poorly painted "artwork," very outdated clothing (think polyester leisure suit, with wide white stitching on lapels), gaudy ceramics and such, but I also gave away a 150 year old English serving platter when I cleaned out my collection of bone platters.

I have to back slap my jealousy when I think about the year my mother slipped a beautiful piece of footed ruby red glassware into the gift exchange and someone else in the family claimed it in the exchange. I am happy they won it. I am happy they won it. I am happy....

I think the best gift ever was a stuffed crow resting on a branch; it returned year after year, reminding us of Poe's "ungainly fowl," the raven, who said, "Nevermore." So, there you have it. A good-for-laughs family fun, a mix of the shabby, chic, and extreme.

Do you have these fun gift exchanges at your holiday celebrations? Let us hear about the "best" gifts shared at yours.
*Image from Pigtown Design's blog


Becca's Dirt said...

I have played the game and love it. It is so much fun as you search what everyone else has before you choose another wrapped gift. I have re-gifted and I've taken home some pretty shabby gifts. It is funny to see the same thing as last year come around for another year of fun.

Cathy Messecar said...

I also love how this game takes the focus off of spending a lot, or getting. IT's just fun. As Terra said in a post a few days back, "We have all we need." One year we didn't exchange gts at our extended family party with my parents and siblings. We played this game and had great fun with the weird gifts.