It is officially the holiday season. Yes, it is that time of year again when every radio station plays the same 15 Christmas songs over and over, the malls are packed every weekend with Christmas shopping, and usually one to two Santa Clauses gets a DUI on some type of lawn mower.
It is also the season of the Christmas party. All of the parties are generally the same. Copious amounts of hard liquor are consumed, ugly sweaters are worn and grandmas make off-hand comments.
Christmas parties also generally have a big white elephant or yankee candle (only applies to the area around Massachusetts not west of Amherst) gift swap. Ah yes, the white elephant, the only competitive part of a Christmas party. If you do it right, you can make away with some pretty serious goods. If you do it wrong, you walk away with something that you will end up re-gifting or trashing.
The thing is, like Christmas parties themselves, all white elephant swaps are generally the same. Numbers are selected, you end up with a crap number, while the host always gets the best number. The gifts also the same. No, not the actual gifts, but rather the types of gifts. Let’s break down each gift that is seen at a white elephant swap.
1. The Gift That Everyone Wants.
This gift is the best, and is the one that is most often swapped. Usually, it is a handle of booze or a collection of airplane bottles, but either way, this is the gift that you want to take home at the end of the party. It is also the gift that you will attempt to get, but you will end up walking away with a bunt cake maker instead. It is the gift that you need a good number for.
2. The Gift That Everyone Will Use.
This gift is the second most swapped gift during a white elephant. Generally these gifts are mostly gift cards. Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Best Buy, or Target these are cherished by many at the swap due to their high usability. You want one of these just so you can save a few dollars during the holiday season. A dark horse in this category is also a nice set of glasses. Trust me, one of these gets unwrapped, and it gets traded around faster than a minor league baseball prospect.
3. The Gift That Someone Spent Way More Than They Were Supposed To On.
The best part of white elephants is generally, all the gifts cost about the same amount. However, there is always one person who brings a gift that costs way more than the limit. The gifts are supposed to be anonymous, but everyone at the party knows who brought the gift. It is from the guy who’s teeth are only really white in the front and center, he is the type of guy who will make an off-hand comment, and be the only person to laugh at it.
He might own his own business, but not the type of business that you would really aspire to own. Like a construction port-o-potty company, not that there is anything wrong with owning it, but it isn’t the type thing your five-year-old self would answer when he was asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
4. The Gift that Has a Lot of Thought put into it.
One of the great things about white elephant swaps is that the gifts can be anything. As a result, some people get really creative for the holiday season. The gift might be a coffee inside of a coffee mug, or Alabama Sweatpants inside a bag of Auburn toilet paper (it is the gift that keeps on giving). The best example of this I’ve seen is when someone gave a Christmas wreath, but instead of lights, there were mini-bottles of liquor on it. Man I wish I had gotten it.
5. The Gift That Has No Thought and Was Clearly Bought at The Last Second.
These gifts are the worst, not because they are bad, but because they were given by someone who doesn’t care. They want to participate and get a gift, but they really don’t want to give anything that will cost them money. So they might give a pez-dispenser, or a dollar scratch-off tickets that will never win. It may also be a gift that was re-gifted from the previous white elephant.
6. The Gag Gift.
This is the gift that makes white elephant swaps entertaining. The gag gift is something that is meticulously thought of and planned months in advance. The gift could be an inside joke, or something that is really funny. Examples include, but are not limited to: an Obama Chia-Pet, a Shaquille O’Neal bobble-head, a book written by Mike “The Situation”, or a Kylie Jenner lip kit. Either way, the gift is well thought out, funny and is the reason for attending a white elephant swap in the first place.
So the next time you attend a white elephant swap, look for these gifts. They are the same at every party. Also remember to drink plenty of grandpa’s punch, because that is the gift that keeps on giving.