Would someone please tell me what "White Elephant" at Christmas time means? I THOUGHT I knew, after attending so many over the years, until last night when I participated in one.
I remember well the first White Elephant party I attended as a child. I was probably seven or eight. It was at Timber-Lee Christian Center in Wisconsin where we lived for about eight years. When we finally reached the pre-determined age, the adult staff let us kids join.
I remember what building at camp we had the party. I remember that there were some weird gifts. And I remember that although I really wanted to choose the big box, I actually chose the tiny gift (because some kind soul told me that "good things come in small packages", and also I didn't want to appear as greedy as I actually was, considering this was my debut). When I ripped off the paper, I was rewarded for my selflessness by finding a pantyhose "egg" holding a $10 bill. WOWZERS!! Ten whole dollars all for myself!!
Alas, it wasn't long before the rules of the W.E. were engaged, and someone stole it from me.
And after the party, Ellie Haroldson tried to help my mom by getting us kids all bundled up for the walk home. She held up my snowsuit and called me over to her, interrupting the twirling I was doing in my beautiful Christmas dress. "Hmp!" I thought, "How could she? An adult...interrupting a child's all important play time? The nerve!!" So, I looked over at her as she called, "Sarah, come get your snowsuit on", and said, "No." Well, Ellie Haroldson was a great, patient lady and didn't paddle my behind on the spot, as I deserved. But I assume that she did talk to my mom about it later. Because the very next morning, I found myself sitting on the edge of my mom and dad's waterbed dialing Ellie's home phone number. I was shaking so much that it was hard to get the numbers all dialed, but eventually I did and the phone rang...and rang...and rang. It seemed like an eternity before she finally answered. And I apologized for my behaviour the previous night. I asked her forgiveness, which she graciously gave. What a great and memorable lesson that was. Thanks, mom, for making me do that incredibly hard thing. And I actually believe now, as a mama myself, that it hurt you more than it hurt me.
Anyway, I was wondering about the general population's view of the White Elephant gift exchange. Not so much the part about the rules, as the gift part. After I get some feedback, I'll post my reason for asking.