The Best Giftmas Exchange Ever

As the year draws to a close and we start counting down to the holidays (no matter which one you celebrate), many of us dread the "Secret Santa" thing.  To me it always sounds like a great idea and I get super excited, but in reality it often turns out to be a dud.

Where I currently work now has no holiday gift exchanging.  (I'd say there is no holiday spirit, but there are a group of us who all work for different companies under the same corporate umbrella who make the season bright.)  Prior to that I did work for a company that was quite large that had an "international" day (people of all different backgrounds brought in their favorite foods; it sounds promising, but sadly it really wasn't) which culminated in a Secret Santa gift exchange.  The problem being that the company was large enough to have two different locations (within the same state) and people didn't necessarily know each other,  So you'd end up with the name of someone who you didn't know and finding an appropriate gift wasn't all that easy.  Twice I ended up with gift cards that I couldn't use (but I could re-gift them and make other friends happy and I was up front with these friends letting them know that it was a re-gift.)

So with this knowledge in mind, WHY would I participate in an on line gift exchange where I didn't even know most of the people and HOW did it turn out to be one of the most fun things ever?

Put it down to someone with great organization skills (NOT ME!) and an obvious love for the holiday. (I am talking about Jaye...who if she reads this will know how awesome I think she is.)  She put together a Google doc survey that was incredibly well thought out (likes and dislikes) and discreet (because some people don't like getting packages from strange people she made sure that people could receive gifts cards electronically!)  All of this was done with plenty of time built in, so there was no stress in that realm.  And with the details provided by our "host Santa" it was easy to pick out something for a total stranger.

The exchange itself was timed perfectly.  Gifts needed to arrive before December 3rd.  Packages could not be opened until midnight of that day.  When package was opened, receiver needed to post on a thread on a board that was created just for the gifting.  Photos were encouraged. 

I had received my package very early on.  I put it away so I wouldn't be tempted to cheat.  But I WAS smart enough to remember where I stored it.  I WASN'T smart enough to remember that I needed to open it on the 3rd.  No worries, host Santa sent out an email reminder and I couldn't wait to get home after church to see what I had in store.

I tore into the small package as soon as I got home.  Inside was a DVD of Season 1 of The Good Place (if you're not watching this; you should!  The ensemble cast works together flawlessly and the writing is hysterical.  Just when you think you know where everything is going, you are thrown for a laugh out loud loop!) AND a pair of avocado novelty socks (which would make no sense to the average person, but with this group it make perfect sense).  I was gleeful and delighted.  I rushed to get on my computer and post what my gifter had sent me.

But what was even better than what I had received were all the other gleeful posts.  People thrilled with the quirky and personal items they had received.  The joy was palpable!  Reading post after post pasted a smile on my face.  Truly the holiday spirit does live on.  Gifts do not have to be extravagant to be appreciated.  All one needs to do is to listen; the smallest and simplest gift can touch the heart and fill the soul in ways that I don't have words to describe.  (Although I never was able to find my giftees name in the mile long thread.  I know it was received, but I don't know the person's thought.  But then again, who wouldn't LOVE a yodeling pickle?)

So have no fear of holiday gift exchanges...if they are run by an organized and caring soul.  With just a little bit of thought (I think the idea of having each person fill out a simple survey with likes and dislikes beforehand was KEY), you can make someone's day!  And you'll make yours in the process too!



  1. Hey it's Jaye! Great write-up :) Check your notifications - I commented with the links to your giftee's posts!


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