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The elephant in the room

The White Elephant is back, and whoever gets my gift in this year’s exchange is in trouble.Christmastime heralds the best parties – those we either recall with warm, fuzzy feelings or never mention again out of sheer embarrassment.”Yes, that was Bob’s tie around his head at the company party.””No, he doesn’t remember doing the Moonwalk during the dance-off.””Has anyone seen the lampshade?”Along with really bad white-man moves, White Elephant gift exchanges can be as widespread at holiday parties as red-and-green reindeer sweaters.In Indiana, we called White Elephants Chinese gift exchanges, which is certainly politically incorrect and disturbingly accepted in many rural settings.The premise behind the exchange is to buy or re-gift presents that are cheap, cheesy, funny, raunchy, intoxicating, offensive, or all of the above.Everyone is assigned a number and the person with No. 2 starts the game by choosing a gift.I usually choose the biggest gift, but that burns me every time. Once I ended up with a six-pack of floral foam bricks that were later carved into letters that spelled out expletives.There is a use for floral foam, after all.Back to the exchange. Person number-one opens a gift, then number two comes along and can either take that item or pick a new gift, and on and on.Is this a gift exchange or misdemeanor theft?This gets fun when the shyest person at the party happens to get an adult film as a White Elephant gift. Don’t expect to hold on to that one if there’s a married couple of 10 years eyeballing it. Or the lonely man in the corner office.It’s not so fun if parents are participating and Mom ends up with the “Fantasy Island” DVD – the adult version, not the ’80s TV series with Mr. Roarke and Tattoo.No matter how old they are, there’s just some things grown children don’t need to know about their parents.I’ve been to adult White Elephant exchanges where liquor gift sets were the hottest items. That makes for a really good time when the husband of 10 years gets the Crown Royal gift set and his wife scores the adult film.Never underestimate the power of a movie title with various body parts or a big city in Texas. White Elephant gifts don’t always have to be so racy. Beano and a 6-pack of refried beans can be humorous. And so can Kevin Federline’s new CD.Chia Pets, Jesus Christ action figures (complete with walk-on-water action), The Clapper, and plastic throw-up and doggie doo are all classic White Elephant gifts that keep on giving.In the case of the Chia Pet, that’s the gift that keeps on growing.Come to think of it, isn’t that the name of an adult film?April E. Clark is not going to pick the largest gift under the tree this year at the White Elephant exchange. She can be reached at 945-8515 ext. 518 and clark@postindependent.com


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