Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sausage and Cheese

A typical gift exchange party. Not my real family.
What do you do with all of that scrunched up and torn wrapping paper from all of the Christmas gifts? Do you try to recycle it? I'm terrible because I admit - I just toss it away. Same with all of the ribbon and those pretty bows. I know a few people who carefully open their gifts so they can save the paper and bows and reuse them.
So what do you do with those gifts that you got that well, just aren't your cup of tea? I had a couple of gifts I got like that during a friendly white elephant gift exchange with my family.

No elephants were harmed during the writing of this blog
The concept of a white elephant gift exchange is simple. The premise is everyone brings a wrapped gift worth a certain agreed upon value (ours was a $50 limit) Then everyone draws a number. And starting with the person who drew #1, you pick your choice from all of the wrapped gifts. Once you selected a gift you unwrapped it and let everyone see what it is. If you look closely during the game, everyone else is eying your gift, just waiting to possibly snatch it from you when it is their turn. 
Then #2 picks either the gift they just saw get opened or they can select a new gift. And so on with each number. If it was a good item, people would just take it from you rather than risking their chances with the unknown of a wrapped gift. If you had a gift stolen you could then steal someone else's gift or choose one that has not been unwrapped yet.

I thought it was a good omen that I drew #1 and was able to pick the first gift. I'm Greek and everything we do is big, so naturally I picked the biggest present. But when I opened it up I found it was a big disappointment. Inside this big box was a 5-pound generic summer sausage and a hunk of cheese. Not even the good stuff from Hickory Farms! My gift quickly became the punch line for the entire day, as in, "Well, at least you didn't get sausage and cheese like Ava did." Thanks everyone.
There was a lot of strategy at work during the game. Some people who got really nice gifts tried to hide them so they wouldn't get stolen from them. Others used the "no eye contact" strategy. They would refuse to look at the person picking the gift in the eyes in hopes of not having their gift stolen from them.
So as the game goes, we were allowed to steal other people's gifts back and forth up to 3 times. Once a gift had been exchanged 3 times as the Aston family rules go, then you could not steal that particular gift anymore. Most items were in hot demand and exchanged hands the 3 times. Not so much for my sausage and cheese. Although whenever people were looking around as to what gift they were deciding to steal everyone was screaming "take Ava's sausage and cheese"take Ava's sausage and cheese." No one ever did.  They were just taunting the Greek girl.
I knew the game was all in fun and I that I was getting other gifts from family and friends, so it didn't ruin my Christmas. But I do have a couple of thoughts about the "sausage and cheese ensemble" that someone wrapped and tried to palm off at our white elephant gift exchange.
First off, there is no way they spent anywhere near $50 for that sausage and cheese. I'm guessing they spent less than $7.00 tops, if in fact they did even buy it! Most likely it was a gift they received from someone earlier this Christmas.

Secondly, who gives sausage and cheese as a gift? The family member who did this had to sit there silently for the rest of the day biting their tounge - listening to everyone say what a stupid gift it was. They had to endure their gift being the butt of every joke, whether it made sense or not! Just the mere mention of sausage and cheese had everyone cracking up.

So OK, I was stuck with (oops, I mean) I ended up with gifts I really don't want. So I will most likely also recycle them myself or as they called it on Seinfeld  re-gift them.
Hmmm, sounds like a perfect gift I can hang onto and give to my manager Mr. Bricks when I have a need to give him a gift of some sort. If he eats at McDonald's everyday I am sure he also would enjoy late night binges on sausage and cheese.
Oddly enough, no one took credit for bringing the sausage and cheese combo as their gift exchange items. There was a whole lot of muckery, finger-pointing and even some accusations made, but like every other Christmas in our household it just turned into another Family Feud. And I'm not talking about the game!
I hope your Christmas was Merry!

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