Ever since we've been married we have been to the Newton party. I think we went while we were dating, too. The Newtons are my mother-in-law Ellen's family. Our favorite part has always been the white elephant gift exchange. It's a fun tradition, though you have to be REALLY careful what you choose. I remember that the first year of marriage I got a roll of toilet paper. That was probably the best gift I had received. Last year Eric got a broken sewing machine and I got expired protein powder and about 30 books of matches. Previous gifts have included a portable toilet bag, a huge dead bug extracted from a window, and the annoying Japanese alarm clock that resurfaced year after year. The clock has officially seen its last white elephant party, as the last recipient has grandchildren who love it. I don't think any of us are sad. We have also given some pretty awful gifts, one of which was a ceramic genie lamp with flowers painted on the side.
This year Eric and I decided that we would give gifts that were a bit more usable and less like junk. We bought the Bourne trilogy, so one of our gifts was our used copy of The Bourne Identity that we no longer needed. The other gift was ties from Missionary Mall that, while they were not pretty, were at least functional. I also knew that there were two men at that party who would be willing to wear them. The universe smiled on us for our switch to usable gifts. We got some of the best stuff. I ended up with a basket filled with a dish towel, European chocolate sticks, a candle, and a garlic holder. I forgot to find out who it came from. Oh, well. I figured it would be stolen, but it wasn't. The biggest danger came from the participant right after me, but she didn't take it. Then my baby spit up on my father-in-law and I used the dish towel to clean it up. I used it because 1) I forgot to get the burp cloth of out the clean clothes basket and didn't have anything else and 2) I knew no one would want my gift if it had baby puke on it. I know what I did and I'm not apologetic.
The other gift we came home with was priceless. It has to be the most gloriously disgusting Christmas sweater the world has ever seen. It was made by one of the cousins and, from what I gather, was used at a ward function of some sort. There is a hole over the left boob (which I will be fixing) and more bells than I know what to do with. As a special feature, the presents on the sleeves are stuck on with Velcro and are removable at the wearer's discretion. I will be wearing it to Christmas breakfast with my family and I think I will recycle it for next year's Christmas party. It's too good not to.
Just to give you an idea of the horribleness of the general offerings at this party, here are a few of the gifts from this year:
- A videocassette of NBA superstar music videos
- Potty Putty (Silly Putty in a toilet-shaped container)
- A collection of pregnancy books
- SOS pads
- A live rat