Friday, January 12, 2007

The Best Christmas Present

It's tradition that at our Annual Enormous Family Christmas party we have a Chinese auction (or is the correct term now Asian-American auction?) where each of the 20-plus adults brings a white elephant gift, otherwise known as a gently used, no-longer-needed item from home.

After we draw numbers, the first person picks a package, unwraps it, then the person with number two has the option of either snagging the first gift that is now unveiled or picking another gift from the pile. On and on it goes, gifts trading hands and flying back and forth until everyone has opened a gift and is either mentally cherishing their new-found treasure or cursing the fact they ended up with yet another set of authentic Graceland commemorative salad tongs.

The exchange had continued for some time and I hadn't been paying much attention to what was going on because I was happily stroking my Cold Stone gift card when, amidst the chaos, wrapping paper and bows I looked and beheld Andrew standing, in what can only be described as a mid-squat, with two enormous buckskin beaded Native American mittens on his hands doing his tribute to The Village People with a startling rendition of "YMCA."

Utterly confused and wondering where I'd been the last five minutes I stared slack-jawed at my rather talented husband, then at his hand wear, then at his thumping feet. The neurons fired all around my brain, looking for a solution to the visual conundrum before me, when out of the corner of my eye my mother politely waved for my attention. I looked over the heads of numerous squealing children as she mouthed the words, "Do you know what those are?"

I shook my confused head and she continued in a subdued-yet-frantic a manner that my mother has perfected, "Grandma and Grandpa got those gloves when they lived near the Reservation. The Ojibwa handmade those gloves especially for Grandpa. They're real."

As it clicked into my brain that my husband was dancing with the newest and most fabulous family heirloom that's worth more to me than a Village People reunion tour I did the slow motion lunge-and-shriek move to rescue my new prize. It stopped him dead in the middle of his chorus, leaving him confused and mittenless. "Uh-oh" was all across his face as he struggled to understand the situation.

It wasn't really his fault you know, how was he to know that someone would actually bring something wonderful to the gift exchange? The poor man didn't even get to take home his own gift. His wife took his prize--I'm going to have them framed--and he didn't even get the Cold Stone Gift card as a consolation. He's a good sport and he does a great rendition of "Macho Macho Man."

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17 comments:

Steve G said...

That is what I call a collector's item. On the wall behind glass is the best place for them.

jchevais said...

Wow.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

But - - who put the mittens into the mix? Inquiring minds seek to know!

~Amber~ said...

That's awesome! My family does our gift exchange like that - we call it "Dirty Santa." And it's very common for my husband or my brother-in-law to end up with nothing because my sister or I will be torn between 2 prizes. That's the mark of a good man, I say :)

This comment brought to you by Delurker Week - hi!

J said...

Funny that you didn't give him your gift card! HA! We call that a white elephant exchange around here.

BEAUTIFUL gloves. Simply beautiful. Congrats.

Nicole said...

I would have been freaking out. That is so cool that they are/were real. Great story!

Pass the Torch said...

Oh my gosh - they're gorgeous.

And for white elephant exchanges, I get stuff like this.

scribbit said...

It sure surprised us to have something so cool come out at the gift exchange. My grandparents are moving and cleaning out their stuff so they brought the gloves to get rid of them and to see the feeding frenzy that would ensue over such a treasure. Poor Andrew had no idea they were real and felt pretty sheepish afterwards.

Everyone was jealous once they realized what I'd be going home with. :)

Amy W said...

That is cool. I get edible underwear or a bottle of gin that had been tampered with at my family's gift exchanges.

Cagey said...

At our Christmas party, we have a white elephant gift exchange! I call it the "Bring your trash Christmas Bash". Unfortunately, I was too sick this year to have it.

Leslie said...

What a wonderful gift and hilarious story!

Stephanie said...

I love doing that. When we play that people can steal your gift. Glad you got to keep yours! What a treasure

Chilihead2 said...

They are truly beautiful.

chelle said...

Those are an amazing treasure!!!

Blondie said...

Wow! All I ever get from those exchanges is CRAP. :( I love the gloves. Good snag.

Waya said...

We do the same thing every Xmas and it's so much fun! Now that is much much better than a Chia pet!

The Lazy Organizer said...

They're beautiful! Last year I snagged my very own baby Eskimo mittens that I wore in Alaska so many years ago. I saw them at my Mother's house and took off with them. They're so sweet!