Monday, December 25, 2006

dirty, Dirty, DIRTY santa!...

Christmas has most definitely changed. That's good, because I've changed right along with it.

On Christmas day my entire maternal family meets at my grandparents for breakfast and gift exchange. With the overwhelming number of people in our family, a few years ago we decided to start a game called Dirty Santa. If you bring a gift, you play the game.

Girls: take your gift to the living room and draw a number.

Guys: go to the kitchen (rinse the plates while you're in there;)

"Number 1?"

"Who has number 1?"

"Number 1--you're up!? Where' no. 1?"

"Oh!?" Exclaims Aunt Julie, "That's me, are we starting?"

She draws a thin package, but large, nearly 3X3 in feet. She unwraps the gift, cuts away the tape, and a beautiful wall clock peers out.

Oohs and aahs from the gallery.

"Number 2? Who's number 2?" yells out an aunt trying to move the game along.

Before we know it, we've unwrapped gift certificates to Victoria's Secret, a Holiday Rosemary Evergreen tree, a S'mores maker, a massage and pedicure, babysitting and Lander's Theater tickets, gold bracelets, candles, plush towels and blankets, a Rocket blender, a Tickle Me Elmo, a Mickey Mouse hot air popcorn popper, a desktop rock/water garden, a clock/radio, and two others I can't remember at the moment.

The rules:
1. You may steal from anyone or choose an unwrapped gift.
2. Once a gift has been stolen twice, it's frozen and not allowed to be stolen again.
3. If your gift was stolen from you, refer to rule number 1.
4. The number 1 drawer gets to keep their current gift, or steal a gift at the end of the round.

So, a dirty Santa scene might resemble something like this: Erin, number 7 drawer, decides not to steal and reaches for an unopened package, which incidentally she brought. Hoping not to make a big deal out of it, she casually tells everyone, "It's just a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret, not much." Number 8, her sister Anna, steals it right away, proclaiming the gift to be worth only $15, shorting the audience by $20. Erin then steals from Great Aunt Colleen, who also took her own gift of lunch, a massage and a pedicure. Aunt Colleen steals the $35 Victoria's Secret card from Anna, who then decides to open a new present: another Victoria's Secret card.

Problem solved until the next few numbers duke it out. Tonya's sister has drawn a night of babysitting and two Landers Theater tickets. This is a hot commodity (both the babysitting and the theater tickets) in my family. Tonya contemplates stealing this from her sister, but decides to open a new gift, a hot air popper in the shape of Mickey Mouse. Her daughter Linley loves it and can't wait to get it home to use it and her new easy bake oven. So, Aunt Cathy, pleased that Whitney still has the theater tickets, steals them from her. Hearts are broken. Whitney doesn't know what to do. Discouraged, Tonya comes up with what seems like a great plan. Whitney steals the popcorn popper from Tonya; Tonya steals the theater tickets from Aunt Cathy; Aunt Cathy crashes the plan and steals the popcorn popper from Whitney. Whitney, glancing around, steals the rocket blender from her other sister Jennifer, who then steals the popcorn popper from Aunt Cathy. Aunt Cathy, not to be outdone, once again steals from Whitney, scoring and freezing the Rocket blender. Whitney, left now for the third time to choose or steal, decides upon the Tickle Me Elmo.

In the end, the three sisters come out with three great gifts. But every year, despite the merriment, despite the holly and ivy, despite the hot cocoa and the silver bells and the twinkling lights, my family gets downright evil with Dirty Santa.