Friday, December 18, 2009

Practice what you preach, until some fool tries to regift someone else's vase.

Like many of you, we have a Secret Santa exchange at work. This year, participation was optional. Now, no one should expect the most awesome gift in the world to come from their Secret Santa. It's not really about the gifts. It's about fostering a holiday spirit among co-workers. Yet, every year folks roam the halls complaining that their Santa didn't get them anything yet or got them something lame. Fed up with the whiners, I composed the following email:

Remember when you were little and Aunt Freda* (or whatever that aunt was named in your family) gave you socks, or a nightgown, or that hideous polyester jacket that was so NOT the Adidas one that you wanted? You smiled and said, “Thank you, Aunt Freda!”

You didn’t, at least within earshot, rant about how cheap Aunt Freda is or about the ugliness of the socks/nightgown/jacket, or how you are never going to be able to use said gift because it’s cheap and ugly and not what you wanted. You smiled and said, “Thank you,” because your moms and dads taught you to be gracious.

The Secret Santa exchange is not about getting the perfect gift or getting exactly what you want. It’s about having fun and getting into the Christmas spirit. Maybe your Secret Santa, like many of us here, is living paycheck-to-paycheck and was unable to get you a gift until payday. Maybe your Secret Santa has not had a chance to go shopping for the things you put on your Elfster wish list. Maybe you didn’t fill out a wish list and they are winging it. Whatever the case may be, it is rude and hurtful to rant about the gift you received from an anonymous co-worker who chose to participate in an optional gift exchange. They are not like Aunt Freda, whom you only see at Christmas and Easter. You will be working with these people every day.

Smile….be gracious… and say “Thank you.”

Nice, right? It was well received and many people sheepishly sent out a blanket Thank You email. Today was the Christmas party with the exchanging of the big gift and the revealing of your Santa. The boss had Papa Christo's brought in and all was going well until it was my turn. Once my Santa was revealed, I opened my gift and inside was an earthen ware vase. I slowly pulled it out, looked over at my Santa and said, "This is Leslie's vase! You're trying to give me Leslie's vase?" So much for being gracious and saying "Thank you."

Now, I wouldn't have been the wiser had we (Leslie, Santa and I) not sat in her office discussing the vase, which came with a bouquet of roses from her beau, and how it was not really a bouquet of roses kind of vase. Santa laughed and said, "No, that's a joke, there's more." I dug around in the tissues and came up with...a 100 count box of butterfly closures. Wtf? Are you kidding me?? He was. When I finally dug to the bottom of the box, I found a Visa Gift Card taped to the bottom. I did thank him, though, and will use my gift card wisely, but I sure looked bad reacting that way.

*It should be noted for family readers that this is a fictional Aunt Freda and not our Aunt Freda.


Anonymous said...

Great! Even my baby sister has gone commercial. bah hum bug.

Ellen Bloom said...

Hahaha! I had a Grandma Freda. She always gave me money. I really miss Grandma Freda!

What do you use butterfly closures for? They look like sutures for plastic surgery. What exactly goes on in your office, anyway?

MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

Oh, I love your santa!!! He really *got* you, didn't he?!!

Also, I love the email you sent. We have the same problem here and the worst kvetchers are the attorneys (naturally). Next year, I might have to steal your email and send it along...