≡ Menu

Too Weird For Christmas


If you've noticed the round red scratch on my face, that's from falling while sledding a few days before. Yes, on my face.

Just when I start thinking I’m normal, Christmas gift exchanges demonstrate I’m not. But then, it’s pretty silly I start thinking such things.

Every year since high school, I’ve attended Robby’s Christmas party.

Well, not the year I ditched his anti-homecoming party to attend homecoming.

I wasn’t invited that year.

But every year since then.

And every year, there’s a white elephant gift exchange. Only, not a traditional white elephant, because with the exception of Skye and me everyone buys their gift.

We’re cheap rebels.

Skye, with my encouragement, made a small painting for last year’s white elephant. It was a small square canvas on which she’d painted a reindeer and the word Noel.

Trust me when I say it was adorable.

Though Skye had doubts about its viability as a singular gift, I loved the painting and assured her it would be popular.

(Notice the ominous foreshadowing.)

So we gathered at Robby’s and ate chili and played the piano and discussed the previous year. Then we gathered around the Christmas tree and people, in the order of drawn numbers, started selecting gifts.


Who could believe we're the party weirdos?

Upon unwrapping Skye’s painting, the chooser tilted her head and scrunched up her face and asked one of the least hoped for questions when presenting a gift to someone; “what is it?”

Surprisingly, nobody else at the party spoke up. “It’s a painting, isn’t it adorable?” I said loudly, hoping the crowd would quickly agree.

Silence. Complete and utter silence.

Skye, since it was her gift and we’re not suppose to reveal which present we brought, sat quietly.

Still looking at the painting questionably, the receiver flipped it over to stare at the open back of the canvas, asking “what does it do?”

“It’s a painting, you hang it on your wall. It doesn’t… it doesn’t do anything. It’s a painting. It looks really amazing – such a great holiday decoration!” At this point my exclamations had become that higher pitch and louder tone where you think you sound normal but everyone else realizes they’re witnessing the awkward.

“Huh” the girl responded, still turning the painting around as though expecting to find something useful hidden inside the canvas folds.

Though the next person stepped forward to grab their gift, the low hum of awkwardness stayed in the air the rest of the night.


Adorable + Sad = This Girl

At least until I got to spend time with this one.

This one gets me.

Pushing Cars Stuck in Snow

You should see the mice working in the engine.

Robby’s party is this coming Thursday, and I haven’t yet decided on a white elephant gift.

I might choose a gift card, or a DVD, or dryer balls – all have had their gift exchange moments in the sun.

But whichever present I bring, I hope the night ends with car pushing.

‘Cause that’s the sign of a great get-together.

The first year I wrapped my present again and again in different wrappings as a joke

Absolutely nobody thought that was funny

So my awkwardness is as much a tradition as the party and the gifts,


{ 50 comments… add one }

  • Cindy December 21, 2010, 12:29 am

    My friend just attended a White Elephant gift exchange. She took a nice, gold, decorative vase which had a top to it and then added a scoop of ashes from her fireplace. I’ve yet to hear how it went over, but *I* Loved the idea of it!!!

    • nursemyra December 21, 2010, 3:49 pm

      That’s pretty funny!

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 6:22 pm

      That is so hilariously awkward – definitely my kind of friend.

  • Grace December 21, 2010, 1:06 am

    Trust me, any one who turns a painting over and asks what it does is the one that isn’t normal in the crowd. I think the painting/gift idea was a great one.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 6:21 pm

      Ah, if only I’d been the normal one. But nobody argued with her, making it quite obvious I was the outcast!

  • daisy December 21, 2010, 1:20 am

    Scratch? You can’t even see anything!!

    Soooo about the multiple wrappings… I did it kind of by accident to my BF this Christmas. The paper was really thin so I just decided to do a second wrap job on it. I didn’t even think about it!!!! Never crossed my mind that he’d have to UNWRAP it TWICE too. lol. When he broke open the first wrapping (btw we did presents early because he’s in Honduras for Christmas Day) he looked at me with what I can only say was his not so subtle attempt to HIDE disgust. LOL!

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 6:20 pm

      Bring that face to mind. Now imagine instead of two wrappings you used eight.

      I was not popular that year!

  • Erica C. December 21, 2010, 2:14 am


  • Jen December 21, 2010, 8:26 am

    I think that wrapping a gift in many many papers is funny.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 6:13 pm

      Well, now if I ever get a present I think we both know how it’s go.

      (And that’s awesome-ly.)

  • Alaina December 21, 2010, 8:33 am

    ummm…normally you don’t want paintings to DO anything…I’m just saying…I’m sure it was an awesome gift. I would have loved it! (and wouldn’t have been disappointed at all)

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 6:14 pm

      Clearly we need more of you at our Christmas parties.

  • Kimberly December 21, 2010, 9:09 am

    See you and I would totally get along at parties so well. Like this one time, I was invited to a “Gold Party”…where you bring your old gold to sell…anyways, I thought it would be hilarious if I showed up wearing my gold spandex pants and upon entering the house everyone gasped instead of laughed and I awkwardly said
    “Oh, I guess I didn’t get the memo that this was a “Sell your gold party” not “Wear your gold” party”
    No one got it.
    I would have loved the painting.
    Maybe you should gift a mouse from your car. They sound like they would be handy around any household.
    Then again, people probably wouldn’t get it and the mouse would probably die of suffocation in your layers of wrapping.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 6:12 pm

      Ah, the dreaded gasp-instead-of-laugh! I’ve had that happen to me many a time.


      Why, why, oh why are we not real life friends?

      Because I would have laughed and laughed. And then we could have mocked everyone else for not laughing and it would have been amazing.

  • Skye December 21, 2010, 9:31 am

    The used books went over terribly too. I’m happy with my gift this year, though! 🙂

    • nursemyra December 21, 2010, 3:51 pm

      I’d be happy with used books.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 6:05 pm

      This year we’ll both triumph! Or embarrass ourselves again. Always hard to tell.

  • Michelle Saunderson December 21, 2010, 9:48 am

    White elephant gifts are just funny. We ended up getting a remote control car this year that we gave to Toys for Tots.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 6:04 pm

      That’s such a great idea, to donate the undesired white elephant gifts! Though I admit I would have been tempted to play with a remote control car myself!

  • Big Daddy December 21, 2010, 10:13 am

    If it makes Skye feel better, I always yell, “What is it?” whenever I open any gift. Even if it is spectacular and I know exactly what it is. Yelling, “What is it?” and then looking disappointed is an ancient Norse tradition dating back to Thor. Was the receiver of the reindeer painting a viking? Thought so.

    • Skye December 21, 2010, 2:35 pm

      I DO feel better. Thanks!

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 6:00 pm

      Freaking Vikings. Every time something goes wrong in my life, I realize it can all be traced back to a terrible mistake made by Erik the Red.

  • Glamamom December 21, 2010, 10:13 am

    I hate when people aren’t gracious at gift exchanges. We do a dirty Santa/European gift exchange and it always surprises me that people can’t smile and say thank you. Maybe chuckle at a “bad” gift. Inevitably, someone’s feelings get hurt. Not exactly the Christmas spirit…

    Anyway, instead of a white elephant, how about a white goat? http://www.glamamom.com/2010/12/holiday-2010-the-goat-that-keeps-on-giving-giveaway.html or some manure. Yeah, go for the manure.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:59 pm

      Is it wrong that I want to give one of my friends a goat and then be like, “oh, I was suppose to donate this to a developing country? Ah, that makes more sense.”?

      I’m assuming yes.

      Though it’d probably go over better than a bag of poo.

      But then again, you never know what people really want.

  • Mindee@ourfrontdoor December 21, 2010, 10:29 am

    Go with a Chia Pet. Everyone secretly wants one, but no one would dare buy it for themselves or as an actual gift.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:55 pm

      That’s a good idea – obviously you know your seed-based gift exchange presents. But then, I’d expect nothing less from you.

  • Jodi December 21, 2010, 10:48 am

    I totally get it! :o)

    My daughter’s, biological dad’s family does this type of game. There’s always the person who strives to out-do everyone with their over-the-top gift. It’s a bust if no one gets their feelings hurt or if no one threatens to beat up whoever winds up w/ the “best” gift. Good times…

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:47 pm

      Ah, violence, the most unique of all Christmas presents…

  • Sonora December 21, 2010, 11:17 am

    White elephant gifts are hard because I think the point is that they aren’t fancy or cool. But people have starting going over the top so that everyone feels like they have to bring something cool. Maybe they shouldn’t say white elephant anymore and just call it a gift exchange. In any case, I think the painting was a great gift because it was actually personal and took more time than buying something. The awkwardness just made me giggle. 🙂

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:47 pm

      I think they should keep calling it white elephant but everyone should bring their presents down a notch!

  • Stay At Home Babe December 21, 2010, 11:25 am

    My old office had a white elephant exchange where I almost beat a girl’s ass for a travel mug. It’s nowhere near as cool as a painting (that wasn’t sarcastic at all), but it went down well with the travel mug set.

    Oh, and a box of homemade cookies and brownies. There was almost an all-out riot to get the cookies and brownies. That’s a homemade idea, do I get bonus points for offering one of each?

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:46 pm

      Weirdly, I’d never thought of cookies and brownies but that’s a brilliant idea – I bet that would be quite popular!

  • parentingadabsurdum December 21, 2010, 11:32 am

    What does it do?? Love it! How cute are you, scratch and all.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:45 pm

      In her defense, it would have been pretty awesome if the painting had opened and also been a can opener or something!

  • Poppy December 21, 2010, 11:45 am

    My 12 year old is to attend a kid party today in which she is to bring a white elephant gift and I’m trying to explain the concept to her and I’m having difficulty. I think I will have her read this post instead because I think my idea of a white elephant gift will lead to a whole lot of awkward for my daughter and she might resent me more than she already does.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:45 pm

      You say “awkward” like it’s a bad thing…

  • Casey December 21, 2010, 12:12 pm

    My sister just went to a White Elephant and brought a shake weight. Awesome.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:44 pm

      I have a friend who’s debating whether to get her male roommate one of those or a Staples Easy button to put by his bed.

      Oh yes, my friends are classy.

  • Bodaciousboomer December 21, 2010, 12:15 pm

    We did an event last weekend where a lot of people bought my LP bowl for White Elephant gifts. I think I’m hurt now.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:43 pm

      I’m sure that’s a quality white elephant gift party – it’s an honor!

  • Christian December 21, 2010, 12:16 pm

    I would have fought for such a gift. There would have been blood. Even if no one else wanted it.

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:43 pm

      I do so wish you lived nearer. My Christmas parties have a terrible lack of blood.

  • nursemyra December 21, 2010, 3:54 pm

    Can’t see the scratch, love the adorable/sad photo. and I want one of Skye’s paintings for xmas

    • Megan December 21, 2010, 5:38 pm

      The scratch was my right cheek, so thankfully Sharon is covering it with her face!

  • The Farmer December 21, 2010, 11:17 pm

    The best white elephant gift I’ve experienced yet, an old toilet bowl. Used it as a chair all evening. Great conversation piece. This year I’m wrapping presents with photo realistic handgun targets. the fav seems to be the one with an 80 yr. old guy in a sport coat pointing an Uzi machine gun at you.

    • Megan December 25, 2010, 7:26 pm

      Gifts wrapped in realistic targets? Now *that* sounds like an awesome Christmas. And clearly your friends know how to do white elephant gifts right!

  • Metropolitan Mum December 22, 2010, 4:06 pm

    Why don’t you go buy a bag of potatoes, thrust them in other peoples’ exhaust pipes and wrap one potato up with the promising message of ‘There’ll be lots of car pushing this year’. I guess that’ll make for a whole new level of awkwardness…

    • Megan December 25, 2010, 6:56 pm

      WHY didn’t I think of that? Well, there’s always next year!

  • Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip December 22, 2010, 4:50 pm

    I’m disappointed that people were so mean at the White Elephant exchange. I love homemade gifts. Esp. art. It’s my favorite.

    • Megan December 25, 2010, 6:55 pm

      I love art too – I’m always trying to talk my friends into making some!

      (And they weren’t mean so much as confused, which is definitely a feeling I can relate to!)

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge