Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Worst Gift Ever

Holidays bring crazy traditions. Tell me, who thought up this one? A group of friends or co-workers get together and agree to bring an "exchange gift." You have no idea who will get your gift. It could be a man or a woman, single or married, a drinker or a non-drinker. So you aim for that special something-for-nobody-in-particular type of gift. And oh yeah, it's supposed to be in that $5 - $10 price range. Right.

So I go about my shopping earnestly. I decide on a festive holiday oven mitt with a package of sugar cookie mix, and I throw in some measuring spoons for... uh... good measure.

So after a lovely dinner, the exciting moment arrives. For lack of creativity, we all pick random numbers, and then somehow the person in charge decides who gets to pick the first gift. My turn came second. I must have had 14 wrapped packages to choose from, but I remembered that "good things come in small packages." Right. Also, I didn't want to carry home a bulky casserole dish or some other awkward thingamajig.

The little package was tightly wrapped in tape, but before it was completely opened, I realized I made a big mistake. When I saw THIS, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry:

Keep in mind, nobody said anything about a "white elephant" gift or white hippo gift for that matter. But that's what I got -- a ceramic white hippo with a red hat, and oddly placed cracked and peeling heart stickers. One tattered decal on the hippo's belly said "to the greatest mom." I'm not even a mom.

Later we discovered that the hat unscrews, and it was obviously once a perfume bottle. My friend John bravely wafted the open bottle under his nose. Not a drop of the fragrance remained which was probably a blessing.

Next, we did the obvious -- rubbed it to see if a magic genii would come out. Nothing. We placed it under a cloth napkin hoping to forget about the pathetic thing, but it was still good for a few more laughs...

We thought of playing this fun scavenger type game, but I couldn't imagine walking up to a strange man at the restaurant bar and saying "can you show me something bigger and better?" (Now that I'm sober, I realize that would have been hysterically embarrassing.)

We thought of bringing the hippo to a target shooting range, but apparently they don't like you to fire upon ceramic items.

Anyway, somehow, accidentally-on-purpose the hippo disappeared on the way home. But please, nobody email me and tell me that the hippo was a rare 16th century Yiddish tchotchke. Just leave me with my happy memories.

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