Tuesday, February 7, 2012

White Elephant, Vol. 29

First things first.  There's a Blogger function that shows what Google searches lead to Miles and Laurel, and you all know I get great entertainment from the weird phrases that somehow point people this way.  But today someone got to M&L by googling:

my feet are super stinky and i make everyone smell them

Listen, Readers.  I assure you that I do not make everyone smell my feet and that I have not written on this theme in the past, nor do I plan to in the future.  That's just not a worry you need to consider before dropping by M&L. How, why, how and why did this happen!?!  Gah!  (I extend a dubious welcome to that new reader, if he or she is still here.)

Now, down to business.  Every February, my mom's side of the family congregates at my family's house for the annual White Elephant party. There are a lot of us with winter and spring birthdays, so it is kind of a big old birthday party.  Our family takes this quite seriously: by most counts, this year's party was the 29th annual!

What is White Elephant, you ask?  Well, it involves every participant bringing an assortment of gifts found at home or collected during the year.  "Gifts" may not be the right noun.  Some call them "beloved hand-me-downs," others "junk." They must be wrapped.  Then you pile them on the table and distribute several pairs of dice to your guests.  Your merry guests take turns rolling the dice until they get doubles and get to select a prize.  This goes on until all of the prizes are done.  Each guest shares the wonders that they've unwrapped, then the next round begins, when rolling doubles allows guests to steal prizes from each other.  I don't actually know how long that round lasts - 10 minutes? 15? - because my dad is in charge of this part of the competition.  Then the game is done.  When I was a kid, it usually ended in tears for at least one of us cousins.  (Reader, it hurts to miss out on a gumball machine.)  I should also note that I used to think this was our family's original invention until I got a little older and learned about the many variations of this game: Yankee swap and so on.

Can I keep up the trend of bolding the first line of every paragraph?  Let's see.  Oh, it's important to note that this party has a different theme each year: tropical fish, safari, etc.  This year it was plaid and snow.  Thanks to Pinterest and other sources, my mom really went full-bore with this theme.  It was pretty incredible.  Also, most of us wore plaid shirts.  Also, I made guacamole and I think she got mad at me that I skipped the steps of making it "plaid." (Sorry, Mama.)
Mashed potato snowpeople topping off beef stew
We ate and ate and ate and then started the game.  Among the items on the table: a typewriter, a telephone with cord, a huge bag full of wine corks, a bike helmet, a hat shaped like an elephant, a package of muffler bandage, a bag of aviation magazines, leopard print lingerie, a non-functioning Polaroid camera, my "Bad to the Bone" sweatshirt, a bag marked "belly button lint" and a bag full of rubber bands - among many, many, many others.  I didn't even cherry-pick the highlights, Reader - that's just a random list.

Early on, I set my sights on a Sport Kilt and emerged victorious.  What is a Sport Kilt?  I'm not exactly sure, but it seemed really important that I win it.

I also wanted some red lights shaped like hearts, but my sister took them and never looked back.  Later, I decided I regretted giving away Bad to the Bone, but it was too late.  My only hope is that it comes back to next year's party, which happens regularly.

My sister also won the bike helmet, which I had donated with the intention of her winning it. SISTER, WEAR IT!

Josh rolled doubles for a typewriter and no one tried to take it away.  Typewriters are cool!  (Yes, he is wearing his new robe.  It's plaid.)

We are excited to write ransom notes to each other and leave them around the apartment.

My brother won a Swiffer mini-vacuum thing and upon seeing how excited my sister was about it decided to give it to her.  He initially tried to pass it off as her birthday present, which didn't work.

So, another successful White Elephant party is in the books.  Big kudos to Mom for pulling off the snow-plaid theme seamlessly and to my entire fam for making this a tradition that's entering its fourth decade!


  1. You gave up Bad to the Bone?!?! FAIL

  2. I KNOW. No one even tried to steal it from my aunt, the first recipient! Huge mistake on my part.

  3. Sounds like a great party and wonderful time to be together! We have some other "thoughts" to add to your party enjoyment. Join us at www.albinophant.com and check out our white elephant online party ideas!