I've moved to JennetteFulda.com

White elephant exchange: what a gas

At the office Christmas lunch yesterday we exchanged white elephant gifts. This has nothing to do with albino pacaderms from Africa, but instead is a ritual where everyone brings a wrapped gift that may be something good, something regifted, or something purposely hilarious. We drew numbers to determine turns and when your round came up you could either grab a new unwrapped present or steal something from someone else, who would then have to either steal something else or unwrap a new present.

My curiosity got the best of me, so I went for the largest gift and opened it to discover four bags of disposable write boards and pens with the company logo on them that can be hung on door knobs. Fortunately, it also came with some gift cards for music downloads, otherwise hauling that gift to the dumpster would have been my workout for the day. I was shocked when someone actually stole it from me, at which point I unwrapped a new gift and got a Starbucks card, which was stolen so I unwrapped another gift which turned out to be a Starbucks card and a key chain. An upgrade! That too was stolen, and I ended up with this thoughtful gift:

Beano and a White Castle gift card

A White Castle gift card and Beano, the enzyme that naturally helps to prevent gas before it starts. Hee! Good to know my coworkers are thinking ahead. I don’t really eat at White Castle anymore, but the next time I roast up a batch of cauliflower or decide to eat too much oatmeal, at least I’ll be prepared.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
Home: Main index


VerseFameBeauty • December 21, 2007 at 8:52 am

See now don’t you just hate that? I don’t think I’ve ever ended up with the gift I wanted from one of those things. It always gets stolen! I’ve seen it implemented where a person can only get stolen from twice, which would have left you with the Starbucks gift card and keychain. New rules next year? :-)

PQ – There was a rule that an item could only be stolen once per round. Also, once all the presents were opened, the person who drew number 1 got to chose to keep their present or swap it for anything else. I was just glad to get rid of one of my bath crystal gift baskets I always seem to get even though I never take baths. (Uncover your noses, I take showers instead.) It went to a guy of course, and he thought my singing Hallmark bag was a better gift than the gift itself. And I agree :)


Dyan • December 21, 2007 at 9:10 am

This just happened to me 2 days ago. The gifts didn’t have to be funny, so I picked out a really beautiful porcelain box. When it came my chance to choose, I picked a really nice hot cocoa set! Great! Perfect for the little ones. Until someone stole it. Know what I ended up with? Seems someone forgot about the exchange and hightailed it to the gas station and bought a selection of candy bars, pine air fresheners, and a bottle of power steering fluid. Sweet!

PQ – There was one person who forgot a gift, so they put their winter hat into the exchange. Then they ended up stealing it back from someone!


Queen Bee • December 21, 2007 at 9:39 am

WTH?? Why were they stealing your stuff? :x

PQ – Because life is cruel :) It didn’t really bother me. It’s just stuff.


MB • December 21, 2007 at 10:05 am

We do the same sort of thing at the office although they call it a Yankee Swap. When your number is up you have to open a wrapped present but then get to choose to keep it or swap it with the gifts that had already been opened. I traded my pound of Starbucks coffee and gift card for a drill/driver set and a tripod flashlight which I intend to regift (yeah for not having to go to Home Depot again). There were some pretty lame gifts given out and we decided to make a no candy rule next year. Merry Merry!

Maybe you could make a trade on the side with a White Castle fan.


Nancy • December 21, 2007 at 10:15 am

That is so funny. I love white elephant gift exchanges! I think that far beats out any other type of gift exchange. We had one once, and of course, the fight was on for the largest gift, which I ended up stealing from someone. Turns out, it was a used mug, and a box of douche. The real part was a nice hand made checker board. It was the funniest thing though when everyone realized what they were fighting over! Hope you have a Merry Christmas!


MB • December 21, 2007 at 10:39 am

The most popular gifts traded at my swap were the bottles of booze. What does that tell you about the people I work with … hmmmm …


TOWR • December 21, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Haha! I got Chlamydia from my office Christmas party.

Little do my siblings know that they’ll be getting it too!

PQ – Oh man, those are so cool! If I’d known about them sooner I would have gotten something for my sister-in-law who is studying biochemistry.


feline_fanatic • December 21, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Hmmm, at least it sounds like you came out even. We had a gift exchange at my office, limit was $20. I haven’t been here very long and don’t know my co-workers very well, so I decided to play it safe and put a $20 bill into the mix. I started out with a lame ice-sculpture kit (box was kind of battered – a regift??) and traded for a Target gift card. Not bad, right? Till I found out the card only had $10 on it!! Oh well, it was still fun. Merry Christmas everyone.


Mia • December 21, 2007 at 1:10 pm

That’s hilarious! (But it makes me sad for you, too because you didn’t get to keep the good gifts.)

Thanks for keeping such a wonderful blog, PQ. Happy Holidays!


chanda • December 21, 2007 at 2:41 pm

That is hysterical. We call that same game “Mean Santa” or “Dirty Santa”. Those who know me know not to fight me for the coffee gifts.. I need my coffee!

Have a wonderful Holiday!


RuralGurl • December 21, 2007 at 4:05 pm

At my work we call that type of exchange the “Kris Kringle”. Mostly it’s just plain fun, but every once in a while you have someone who has to be smart ass and wrap up some raunchy gift. That’s fun too I guess, even when it’s the office stiff that gets the stiff.

Seasons Greetings everyone!


dietgirl • December 21, 2007 at 4:58 pm

that sounds like a lot of fun… and that beano stuff GOOD LORD my husband could really do with some of that :)


jae • December 22, 2007 at 5:09 am


That would be a perfect gift for Hubby. Although we don’t have a White Castle out here in our area he had one in his area growing up and ALWAYS tells me how good they are. Plus his gas is sufficating me. Please trade him, I got him some good stuff you just might like. (A wound up flash light, some memory for his phone, computer stuff).



Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

Man looking into telescope

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

Lick the Produce: Odd things I've put in my mouth
Half-Marathon: Less fun than it looks
European Vacation

"What distinguishes us one from another is our dreams and what we do to make them come about." - Joseph Epstein

Learn to run...online! Up & Running online running courses