Sunday, December 09, 2007

Know what I hate?

Secret Santas.

Know what I hate more?

Yankee Swaps.

At least with the Secret Santas you have sort of a chance to actually have the spirit--buy something specifically for someone. But with a Yankee Swap you're buying blind--could be mail/female, geeky, sportsy.

For those who don't know what it is:

Everyone brings a present. Everyone draws a number out of a hat. Number 1 picks a present. Number two picks a present and so on, BUT any later number can SWAP for an earlier gift and the earlier person has no choice in the mater. So it should be called Yankee Steal. So much for the spirit of gifting.

And you know that everyone is just regifting something that they got the year before. Probably true in Secret Santas--I for instance got a set of Margarita glasses last year. Not exactly my ideal, but the buyer thought of me as cosmopolitan and hip and so probably thought it was perfect.

Gift cards are the best. We should just agree to all buy each other gift cards. Much easier. I hate to say that since I used to believe in careful gift giving.

I'd rather get a $1 gift card to Starbucks from everybody (obviously wouldn't work for a company that had 200 people, but in all likelihood it would be department by department. My office has 12 people total. We could even do $2 gift cards for the same price as the swap sum. Everybody could draw a different place--Starbucks, Duncan Donuts, etc. If you didn't like a certain place you could swap with someone who did.

This is what I like--tiny, thoughtful gifts. I like to buy cheap mugs and several bags of candy, fill the mugs and give one to everybody. Or even just the candy if it's too many. In other years I've made cookies. Then you can slip slightly better gifts to your closer friends. Or something clever.

Since I didn't know about the swap until the invitations went out I had already bought a box of buttons with quotes from Office Space since several of the guys in the office had expressed a fondness for it. I was going to put the pins on the candy bags and do something equally silly for the women. Now I can't because people will act all funny that I did it in addition to the swap. I've done it anyway in other offices, and there's always some resentment. Like I'm doing it to be superior.

So much for the Christmas spirit.


Matt said...

At my former job at NIU, this was called a "white elephant" and the actual goal was to bring something so dumbass goofy as to MAKE people want to get rid of it. I got a couple of really choice weird framed pictures and strange knickknacks. Someone would often bring something cool, though, too...

BTW, I'm trying to figure out the Freudian slip in "mail/female" but I can't, exactly...

Matt said...

PS: I also love "Duncan Donuts" - my nickname in gradeschool often involved Donuts, and when my ex-girlfriend used me as an example in her linguistics class, she would refer to me as "Mark Donut."

I often explain my name as "like the yo-yo, not the donut."

Novel said...

I vaguely remember doing the white elephant thing--and yes, that was a bit more fun.

And, oh, man, I really need to proof these before I hit enter, don't I? :)
Or not do it between 10 and 11 pm.
So, yes, DunKin' Donuts (you can see how often I go there or look at the sign) and the mail/female...

Mirror's wife wrote one of the funniest plays I've ever had the pleasure of being in called "Male and Shemail" (I think I have the title right) set partially inside a computer. I played Victoria I. Rus, a femme fatale, who asked a journeying email, "Can I be your attachment?"

Novel said...

As I recall, you could also refuse to swap in white elephants, whereas you MUST swap in Yankee Swap--or at least in the versions in which I've been involved.