White Elephant 2016

White ElephantToday my Department had our annual holiday party. It started out with a lovely meat-heavy looking meal. It was all very good, apparently from Chilis. I know that the ribs were yummy. While we were eating, the boss thanked us for our hard work and then launched into a feel good presentation about the hurdles we’ll be overcoming in the year ahead.

Being new to the Department, I wasn’t entirely sure how much of the thanks really belonged to me but it was nice to get an idea of the sorts of things we’ll be working on in the next year. All of it is the kind of big changes that are the reason why I joined the department in the first place so I’m looking forward to that.

Then we got to the gifts. Accepting Vendor gifts is a weird thing because of the conflict of interest so we do our best not to do it at all. When we do do it, the person who received the gift is never the person who takes advantage of it. Prior to starting our white elephant (You did read the title didn’t you?) there was a little raffle for some of these items. I never win anything so I was quite surprised when I picked up this year’s White House ornament. Very nice.

Topping that off, I got number 1 for the White Elephant. In past years with my old department, this would have been awesome as you not only get to pick first but you get an end of the game steal. This group was a lot more steal happy than I have experience with and the very nice bottles of wine that I started off with were soon stolen away and locked away when they were stolen too many times. In fact, pretty much all of the really nice gifts were locked away by the time it got to the end and I would get a final pick. I considered myself lucky to have snuck away with a gift card to Starbucks.

My gift didn’t get traded around but the person who grabbed it was a father who said it would make a great present for his kids so that made me happy. One interesting wrinkle in the whole thing that we found out afterwards was that someone had put in a Trojan Horse gift. It looked like a terrible gift, an ugly little mug or something but at the end after all of the trading was done with, the person went to open it and discovered that the giver has hidden some cash inside, a good $10 more than the minimum gift value. All in all a great surprise for someone who thought they had come out as the big loser of the night.