Reub's journey

10 December 2011

Secret Santa

"At a time of year when typically everyone is getting on everyone's nerves, this is a good idea," Republican senator Johanns from Nebraska said, after senator Franken of Minnesota, spear-heading this gift exchange,  asked him to support a Secret Santa initiative among members of the senate last week. I'm glad they can agree on something.

Secret Santa. Half the members of the US Senate are doing it and so am I; the max they will spend on each other is $10, but my workplace is a little more charitable: we max out at $25. I haven't participated in a few years, but this year I thought "why not?" I should get in the spirit of things, and after all, I do like gift-giving: first you think of what it is that might make somebody else happy, and then you do it. Finding the time to do this is difficult, but this is happy stress. People shouldn't get grumpy about it.

The thing is, in order to give a good gift, you really have to know the recipient, and not just their name, their age, their job. That's why at my workplace the person-in-charge passes out a little info-collecting sheet before Secret Santa commences, because honestly we work in the same building all day every day, but we don't know  these things:

What's your favorite color? What winter holiday do you favor? What do you like to do outside of work? What kinds of books do you read? Do you like ornaments of any kind? What's your favorite music? Your favorite snack?

When I filled out my info I left the thing about ornaments blank because I don't care, and the thing about music blank because I hoped nobody would try to give me music, especially rock-bottom cheap music.

Missing from this picture is a big bag of Kettle chips which I listed as my favorite snack and which, predictably, I finished.
So what you see here is:
1. Colorful gloves stuffed with peanut butter cups. (Reflecting my choice of "All colors are my favorites" & "peanut butter cups" as a snack choice.)
2. Two tubes of aloe chap-sticky stuff, which my SS thought of all by his/her/self. (Good guess.)
3. Cute snowman filled with hot chocolate mix. (Did not specify cute, but this is to be expected & hot chocolate is fine.)
4. Mixed nuts (Yaaay! Another snack wish fulfilled!)
5. A star-shaped ornament made out of natural stuff from somewhere in China. (OK. Could be worse.)
6. A classy chocolate peanut butter Santa, taking my preference for Reese's peanut butter cups one step further. (Great!)
7. A "Norman Rockwell Deck the Halls" Christmas cd. (NOOOOOOO!!! We were doing so well, you and I, Secret Santa, and now this?)

OK, 6 out of 7 isn't too bad. I was at first ridiculously annoyed by #7, but then I realized that my SS was probably making a clever reference to the fact that I teach art, and therefore the Norman Rockwell reference. They probably weren't thinking "she's as old as dirt & will probably love a Christmas tune sung by Glen Yarbrough." No. But now I am cautious about the upcoming week, and wondering what's next.

And I hope that the US Senate takes this business seriously, because really they do not need to be "getting on each others nerves" any more than they already have.


  1. I am a cynic and believe that for most (not all) they will pass the chore onto a staff person...the selecting, purchasing and wrapping. the gift may only cross their palms during the giving. They may not even take the time to ask the staff person what is inside!

  2. Whoa. Forgot all about Glenn Yarborough.I think I misspelled it.

    Otherwise you scored! Very cool. All hail to SS.

  3. oh, secret santa stuff was always so much WORK! ha!

  4. What??? Who does not love the epic song stylings of Glen Yarbrough?

    : )

  5. Tabor, Yeah, you're probably right. But I like to imagine them giving each other peanut butter chocolate santas. And perhaps just a fraction of a generous thought.

    Reya: I had forgotten him too, until the moment I saw his name on the back of that Christmas cd...and then it all came back...bah!

    twg: The kind of work that's not too onerous.:)

    Laoch: I'm re-gifting this to you.


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