Friday, December 21, 2007

Swap It To Me

Today is my last work day before Christmas which entails a few things: wrapping up whatever I will be too depressed to do when I come back here the day after Christmas (is there a more depressing day than 12/26? I think not), handing out holiday cards to coworkers and the most storied of New England Christmas traditions:

The Yankee Swap.

I am in a love hate relationship with the Yankee Swap (or as we ridiculously call it in my office “The Red Sox Swap” (jeez)).

For those unfamiliar with a Yankee Swap, let me break it down for you. It’s like a regular swap but you get to be an asshole. Everyone picks a number out of a jar and in that order gets to pick a gift from the gifts everyone participating brought in. But if you don’t like what you got you can swap with someone who has opened a gift before you. Or if you are number 1, you can pick form anyone who has opened a gift at all. So really everyone wants to be #1.

Now I love Yankee Swaps for one reason and one reason only: I am highly competitive and really the Swap is just a contest who can bring in the most popular gift. I don’t know about your office but around here that popular gift is ALWAYS booze. I learned my lesson my first year here. I was so excited for the swap and went all out and a good amount over the limit: I bought a Dunkin Donuts gift card , some gorgeous mugs, gourmet coffee and chocolate covered swizzle sticks from TJ Maxx and assembled it into a gift basket. Come Swap time? I couldn’t PAY someone to take it. It was the least popular gift that year. EVEN LESS POPULAR than the cracked penguin figurine someone was clearly re gifting.


So the next year I brought a Ketel One gift set complete with Ketel One, martini glass + shaker and regained confidence in my Yankee Swap choices since it was one of the most popular gifts this year. And so that is what Christmas is all about. Winning the Yankee Swap. Right?

The part I hate about it though is the part everyone hates, when a gift you actually likes gets taken away from you by someone who doesn’t like their gift. I know this pain all too well. Remind me to tell you sometime about The Year I Got Stuck With An Ugly Ikea Chandelier. Even if you try to hide your gift after you get it (what?), some jerk will always sniff it out and take it from you, handing you their used DVDs or whatever gift they got and didn’t want.

I have come up with a solution though, and I feel it is a smart one. Instead of going for the gift that I want (i.e. booze) – I go for the gift that I can re gift that usually no one else goes for: a jar of fancy nuts or a box of gourmet Christmas cookies. Or what have you. The booze lovers always overlook these things so I can sweep in and then use whatever I get as a hostess gift for a holiday party that weekend. So I don’t have to suffer the indignation of having my gift taken from me AND I make myself a hero with a cute hostess gift. It’s the perfect plan, right?

So I go into the swap today armed with a bottle of Patron, and a need for a cute hostess gift. Stay tuned to hear me crow with success or bitch yet again about how much I hate Swaps.


Perfectly Plump Preppy said...

Good luck at the swap. You'll have to tell us what loot you were able to get :)

angela said...

I feel the same way! We had our office swap on Wednesday and the gift I brought kept being taken from people (cute stemless martini glasses from C&B,peppermint rimming sugar, and some booze). And I totally felt like the winner of the swap! (despite the fact that I left with ugly candle holders)

Kate said...

Hi Sarah -- I like the blog a lot! Thanks for your comment on (I keep my main blog hidden in my Blogger profile).

I have a $10 swap with friends tomorrow night, and this time I'm just going for the gift with the most comedic value: a chia pet in the shape of Shrek's head. :-)

e$ said...

patron? damn, i want in on YOUR christmas swaps. last year i got a sex book.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing more I like reading about than booze at 7:30 am...I wish I had some for my coffee...props


AmyD said...

Patron?! You went all out this year! Good luck and be sure to report back on how it went!

Jackie said...

Mmmm, Patron goodness. What a swap gift - good on you!

I just wanted to say thanks for writing such an entertaining blog. I've been reading for years (wow!) and coming to your site is a part of my regular morning routine. Your fantastic outlook on the regular day to day things that happen in life is hilarious and you always seem to remind me to take things with a grain of salt (consider yourself the Aesop of 20-something girls everywhere!)

Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

cadiz12 said...

that's an excellent strategy. it's rotten to have something taken from you because in that first five minutes of ownership, you're already all attached to it.

i hope you get something good!

Randall said...

We did that at our work party this year too - except called it the Dirty Santa. It is always more fun when people start to steal stuff back and you bet the bloody mary gift basket and the wine was held on to tightly!

Meg said...

I get all stressed out with swaps, because inevitably I become overly attached to something that I've gotten because I'm number four and spend the entire rest of the game ill over the prospect of someone taking it away. Let us know how it goes!

Editorgirl said...

Hi Sarah - just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas. Love your blog.

LadyA said...

Yes, down here in the south, we call it Dirty Santa. (Guess dumb-ass santa didn't have an enticing ring to it).

A great quasi prank gift to give for those is lottery tickets. It's the gift that COULD keep on giving.

kat said...

Sounds like you've got a great plan there. I think I like the way play better - you have a choice to steal OR open a gift, so there's a little less backstabbing. I learned from the hubby this year that the alcohol is the way to go. Had I known that before hand, I'd have saved about 2.5 hours the day I went shopping for his damn swap - LOL.

So what did you end up getting?

The M Show said...

Don't get me started. Last year I was happy with a good flashlight - a MAGlite. It got swapped for a $2 piece of crap eveready flashlight. I wouldn't have minded a crappy gift but being downgraded really roasted my ass.

I used to work with a lady who would buy an outfit and then put the blouse in the draw - it always came back to her.

My wife's office did one and somebody put in a used toilet seat. I can't believe the anti-christ hasn't shown up to burn the earth on the basis of Yankee Swap alone.

Sarah said...

I am right there with you. I mistakenly picked a bottle of gin (I say mistakenly because I actually wanted it and you KNOW you never end up with something you want). So I was not surprised when a coworker who has repeatedly told me that she thinks gin is disgusting, took it from me and gave me her candlesticks which, unbeknownst to her - I totally love and am not even regifting. So the joke is on her. Boo yeah.

Cindy said...

Yep--you're right. It's always booze. At our friends' big Yankee swap this year, the most traded and coveted gift was a bottle of absinthe. We had all heard of it (the literary references), but few had tasted it. The person who finally ended up with it opened it and passed it around. YUCK! I was happy to go home with Ruth Reichel's The Best of Gourmet cook book. No one else wanted it. :)

Anonymous said...

We Yankee swap at our staff party too. The crappy gifts always appear, one year we had a box of crap from the Dump's Swap Shop AND a toilet seat!

This year I got a great wooden goose (we don't really do alcohol at ours), but of course it got stolen and then again. I ended up with a Yankee Candle Christmas Eve set that I gave to my sister's friend.

The gift I brought was the 3rd to last gift chosen and got traded away for a reed defuser set. I boxed up a bunch of stuff for New Year's Eve, including 2 small bottles of champagne.