Are you familiar with the term ‘White Elephant’? Generally speaking, white elephant represents something you have in your possession that you would like to toss in the trash; however, for some reason, you feel a sense of obligation and you hold on to the item you do not want.
White Elephant gift exchanges are gatherings where you are encouraged to bring the above described item and (with the absence of guilt) pass it along to someone else. Even better, you return home with an item someone else deemed worth tossing but you deemed worth keeping.
This past December, a week after Christmas, I was invited to take part in a white elephant gift exchange. Honestly, for several years, I waited for this kind of opportunity to arrive. Because, I had two gifts I was more than ready to toss.
Two years in a row, my Mom gave Rob and I a box of smoked salmon. The first year, she gave us a large box. The second year she gave us a small box. Large or small, we were not going to eat the smoke salmon. So, both boxes were put in a cabinet, and both boxes remained in the cabinet for several years.
When I received the invitation, I immediately pulled out the big box of smoked salmon. To my surprise, the big box of smoke salmon expired in September 2010. “Woo hoo!” I said to myself. “I can safely toss this large box of smoked salmon in the trash without guilt. And now, I am down to just one box of smoked salmon!”
I pulled down the smaller box. “Still good!” I said, as I checked the expiration date.
The night of the gift exchange, I grew nervous. What if no one wanted the salmon? What if I was forced to return home with the box of smoked salmon in tow? Thankfully, I would never find out the answer to those questions, because someone DID want the salmon. In fact, she said her husband was going to be thrilled to receive the salmon. Again, to myself I said, “Woo hoo!”
Plus, I scored an awesome
aardvark armadillo; his name is Andy.
Oh, wait. My story does not end here. See, the next morning, while checking my email, I noticed I had an email from the gal that got the salmon. “Oh crap!” I thought. “She wants to return her white elephant gift! No!!”
I opened the email wincing and squinting my eyes, bracing myself for the bad news. My friend wrote, “Ben was really excited for the salmon…. until he opened it found t-shirts!!”
My eyes widened. WHAT?! What shirts? Dang, what did I give away last night? Shoot. It was in the salmon box. Who put t-shirts in the salmon box? That box has remained unopened and in the cabinet for the past two years – at least! You mean to tell me it wasn’t smoked salmon? I kept t-shirts in the cabinet for years, thinking the box contained smoked salmon?!
After going back and forth with myself about the turn of events, I replied back to my friend, begging her to describe the shirts. She informed me that the shirts were from Cows, a creamery in Prince Edward Island, Canada. The front of the shirts had cows dancing and the following words printed: “Dancing with the Steers”. [Get it? Dancing with the Steers? Steers instead of Stars.]
“My Mom bought those shirts in Canada! Holy smokes.”
I laughed hysterically with the news my friend shared. Then I cried. I love Dancing with the Stars!!
Channeling Veruca Salt I heard myself say, “I want those two Dancing with the Steers t-shirts; and, I want them now!”
I asked my friend if she wanted a lovable
aardvark armadillo in exchange for the shirts. Surprisingly, she said neither she nor her husband wanted my aardvark armadillo, but, thankfully, she said I could have the shirts.
Later that day, I called my Mom and told her the story. She laughed until she cried, and then she said, “I wondered what had happened to those shirts.”
Wait, now. You’d like this long story to be over – but it isn’t. Not just yet.
Our friends invited us to their house for a New Year’s Eve party. Wanting to make up for the missed salmon, I made a point to buy smoked salmon for Ben for New Year’s Eve. When I handed the salmon to Ben, we had another great laugh about the mix-up. The story was repeated to the guests, and everyone laughed.
Nope. Still not done with the story.
This past Saturday, we had family come to our house and celebrate our son’s 7th birthday. When my Mom walked in the door, she handed me a gift to take to my friend’s house.
The gift? Yep, you guessed it – a small box of smoked salmon. And this time, the box actually contains smoked salmon.
I’m seeing my friend later this week. It will be fun to relive the laugh – again.
The next time you get invited to a white elephant gift exchange make sure you accept the invitation. One never knows what fun can be had with a white elephant gift.
This post won me an award! Thank you Flood G!