(For the original Yankee Swap from 2007, featuring firemen and personal lubricant in a situation far less-sexy than the one you're imagining, go here.)
Today is my office’s annual white elephant gift exchange. While you’re probably familiar with the concept, allow Michael Scott a brief moment to explain:
(“Christmas Party” is the first episode of The Office I ever saw, and also my favorite. Those two things may be related, since most people’s favorite episode seems to be “The Injury.” Which is not even my second-favorite episode; I prefer “Diversity Day.” But I digress.)
So whether you call it White Elephant, Yankee Swap, or something else entirely, you know about the picking of numbers, the unwrapping of gifts, the stealing of other people’s stuff, and the general malaise that accompanies 90% of the proceedings.
The other 10%, of course, is straight-up malice. The people who bring trash as their gift. The people who delight in stealing someone else’s gift because they don’t want that person to have it rather than because they themselves actually want it. You know what I’m talking about, and hopefully because you’ve SEEN it and not because you’ve DONE it.
I’m no fan of humanity, but even I try to get a decent gift for the office exchange. Something I wouldn’t mind taking home myself. This actually brings me to a sort of existential quandary: Is it bad karma to end up with your own gift?
I mean, I understand that it’s…shall we say…“questionable” to get yourself in a Secret Santa situation. Kevin’s delight aside:
But things are a bit more dicey when it comes to exchanges. For the most part, people get a selection of gifts. If they’ve passed over yours—and you think it’s a good gift—then I believe you can go for it with impunity. It’s like if you came to my home (unlikely) and I offered you a piece of cake (even more unlikely) and you didn’t want it. I would then happily eat it. In front of you. BECAUSE WHAT IMBECILE TURNS DOWN FREE CAKE?
Okay, bad example.
Anyway, at time of writing I have no idea what I’ll get. I try to go into these situations expecting the worst. The price of the gift that I purchased is simply the cost of social acceptance. Sunk cost.
May the odds be ever in our favor, gift exchangers.