Secret Santas and White Elephant Games Aren’t Frugal: A deliberately controversial post

One of the common suggestions for how to get holiday expenditures down is to suggest a Secret Santa or White Elephant exchange at the office or family gathering.

For those who aren’t in the know, the Secret Santa is where you put everybody’s name in a hat, and then each person pulls out a name.  You are only shopping for one person.

The White Elephant is a gift exchange in which you bring in one gift, usually something humorous that nobody would want, wrapped in a package.  Then a game is generally played in which each person picks a package from the pile or exchanges a package with someone who has already picked a package.  (This is involves a lot of crying/screaming when it’s played at children’s parties.)

Jimmy Fallon mentions the problems with Secret Santa in this clip.  Even when there’s a spending limit, these never seem to work out well.  If you don’t know the person, you’re likely giving them something they don’t want.   Chances are pretty good that in any pairing, either someone who doesn’t know you will get you or you will get someone you don’t know.  So you’ll end up with junk you don’t want or you’ll give someone junk they don’t want.

The White Elephant is even worse– you have to buy something that is actually already junk and bring it in.  Sometimes the rules state you bring something from  home that you already own but don’t want, but if you own it and don’t want it, then why do you still have it?  On top of that, sometimes the junk is truly junk, and sometimes the junk is actually something nice.  More often though, some number of people bring actual gag gifts that get a laugh and then take up space, and some people bring things that are pretty nice, making others (who didn’t get the nice gift) feel jealous or (who followed the rules) uncomfortable.  In the end, most people end up buying crap nobody would want and taking home crap they don’t want.  It’s a very American sort of game.

I seriously dislike both these games and would rather not participate.  I don’t see the point in anonymous reciprocal gifts.  I don’t like being forced to give things to people who I don’t know very well who don’t need stuff.  I’d rather keep my money and buy my own junk (or not buy it, as the case may be).

What suggestions do we have?  We suggest that offices not have these kinds of games, and that if they do choose to have them that they be voluntary and neither explicitly nor socially mandatory.  As for families, we really think it’s better that if someone is worried about money that adults not exchange presents at all rather than having one of these silly exchanges.  But that’s just us.  We still exchange presents with everybody.  Maybe the joy some families get from having different senses of humor than we have outweighs the annoyance of crap being exchanged.  Maybe it’s worth it to some families.

But it still isn’t frugal.  At least, not as frugal as not participating would be.  Still, if this is the only option for not having a full gift exchange, it’s better than nothing.

What are your thoughts on these kinds of gift exchanges?  Do you participate?  Have you participated?  What’s your philosophy on anonymous gift exchanges?


44 Responses to “Secret Santas and White Elephant Games Aren’t Frugal: A deliberately controversial post”

  1. Coree Brown Swan (@Coree_Brown) Says:

    I agree entirely. I don’t want junk from your house or junk from the store. Stick with something I can eat, something I can eat, or something I can do.

  2. Becca Says:

    Gift exchanges provide entertainment. I can think of far better cheap forms of entertainment, but some are not work or family appropriate (…) and people generally don’t share my views (I think everyone should do public storytelling, but that’s not fun for lots of folks. Also, judging from Tailgates and Baby Showers, other people’s ideas of fun also are not my idea of fun).
    If the world was all people much more like me, I suspect you could put the same amount from a SS/white elephant gift exchange and have much more fun if everyone bought legos, and then has a “pool them all and build stuff” party (then, at the end you can raffle off the legos or give them to charity).

  3. sharah Says:

    I think they can lend themselves to frugalaity if you are swapping out buying one gift instead of many – like we swap kids’ names with the grandchildren in our family so each one gets one gift at family christmas rather than all of us buying a gift for every one if them. But at the office where I wouldn’t be buying presents for these people anyway? That’s just an added expense.

  4. Leah Says:

    Not usually a fan but sometimes funny . . . we did one last year, for work, and it took forever because there are so many people in my workplace. White elephants should be limited to no more than 20 or 25 people, I think. We had something like 70, and the novelty wore off by the end.

    But, in general, I feel the same way. I try to get rid of crap I don’t want. When I bring stuff to a White Elephant, I try to bring things that I am not a fan of but that others could plausibly enjoy. It totally chafed me at the White Elephant party to unwrap my “present” and get a decade old promotional CD for the school. I wish I had swiped the beautiful nutcracker decoration someone else had gotten instead. Not that I’m bitter or anything ;-)

    I don’t mind Secret Santa if you’re in a place where you’d want to get more gifts for people. I usually default to a generic nice gift. I once got a beautiful hat, glove, and scarf set, and thought that was really sweet. With something like that, you can at least donate easily to a winter clothing drive if the pattern isn’t your thing.

    Re: family gifting, I think Secret Santa is a reasonable adult approach for families that have a lot of adults who all come to a big party. In that sense, it is a frugal alternative to buying for everyone. I’ve had friends who really like that approach with things like their family Christmas party that includes all the cousins and such.

  5. hollyatclubthrifty Says:

    I don’t mind elephant exchanges because I can easily find something around the house to box up. However, I hate the random $10 or $20 exchanges. Part of our family was big on those years back – everyone brought a $20 gift and we played this game where everyone traded and “stole” each other’s gifts or whatever. I remember getting stuck with a new package of jumper cables. I am happy to report that tradition ended somewhere alone the line!

    • The frugal ecologist Says:

      My extended family does this exactly and it’s painful. Plus the crowd has grown to about 30. We’ve just started sending our regrets to the whole thing. Hate.

  6. Katherine Says:

    Last year or the year before one set of my in-laws had a white elephant book party that we went to. It was pretty fun. My husband and I went to a used bookstore and picked out books, but it would also have been easy to pick out books we already had but didn’t need to keep. There were good books and super silly books, and it was the super silly ones that were most “stolen.” I ended up with The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I have since read at least 3 times, and my husband got a hilarious book of math-y logic puzzles – The Electric Toilet Virgin Death Lottery.

    I agree with you that the normal white elephant exchanges are a waste of time, money, and energy trying to find a suitable thing to bring. But I liked the book one, and my groups of close friends have done secret santas that worked well because we are a small group and everyone knows everyone else really well.

  7. Hypatia Cade Says:

    I’m not a fan of white elephants… and I’m unsure about the anonymous part about secret santa. And definitely none of this at work :/

    My mom’s family used to draw names when we were kids — one name drawn among the cousins and one name drawn among the aunts and uncles …. But it wasn’t secret. Everyone knew who had your name and there was lots of joking and specultation about what you would get (one uncle is known as a prankster, an aunt a very good seamstress). Gifts were bought specifically for you and it was okay for people to ask around and find out what you wanted. (So usually you ended up with things you wanted). It was definitely something started when people were young and poor and couldn’t afford 8-10 gifts each year. People spent what they wanted on gifts though and sometimes it was a lot and sometimes it wasn’t. And for a while it drew the family together. As people started to die and as cousins grew up and stopped coming to family things regularly it sort of lost its lustre, but it had a good run for about 20 years. The point being it CAN work under the right circumstances.

  8. Leigh Says:

    Ugh I hate these. My group at work is having one. It’s one of many, many random forced social events I just have no interest in.

    I also hate secret santas. I’m not a fan of presents for the sake of presents. It’s my least favorite part about Christmas.

  9. M Says:

    We did the name draw gift exchange with my cousins when I was younger. There were 13 cousins, and everybody drew a name – you just couldn’t get a sibling. Like with the above poster, everybody knew who had who – it was more just a way to take the pressure off all of the aunts and uncles to buy gifts for all of the nieces and nephews. It worked really well, and in our case too was good for the family. The only other major gift exchanges that happened within the family were between godparents/godchildren, which there were a lot of among the relatives.

    I think White Elephant gift exchanges are fun. You spend $15-$20 or dig up a “regift” item, and in exchange you get maybe 1 hour of entertainment. If you go home with junk, that’s kind of annoying, but on well. It’s especially fun when people actually bring desirable or really funny gifts. I still have this hair drying wrap thing that I got at one that I’ve used for the last 8 years. Who would’ve thought?

    A friend does the used book gift exchange at her holiday party. It is a really great idea.

    I did Secret Santa once in something like fifth grade. The way we did it is you had to “sneak” little gifts to your person throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas. So you would leave chocolate bars at their desk, or sneak new lip gloss or a coveted pog slammer (haha) into their locker/cubby or whatever. It was so much fun to get and give mysterious gifts. I’ve learned that most people don’t do it that way, but in the right setting (office, classroom), this can be super entertaining.

    • M Says:

      I should add that White Elephant probably works a whole lot better in the right setting with a close group of people, preferably who have a good sense of humor.

  10. Miser Mom Says:

    Makes me happy that at our big winter holiday party, the main entertainment is food (lunch! yum!) and music. People bring mittens, hats, or toiletries for our local homeless shelters, and we pile them up under a decorated tree in the lunch hall.

    With my friends (so, NOT at work), we do an annual “Bad Gift Exchange” in January. But at that, no one has to take anything. Half of the fun in this is telling the story of how you got this horrible gift, and the other half is seeing that somebody actually *wants* that sequined sweater or singing bass. If you bring something that’s so awful that no one wants it, you have to take it home again yourself. As it should be, I say.

    • Rosa Says:

      bad gift exchange (and sometimes “reading holiday letters out loud” too) are excellent close friend group postholiday parties.

  11. Ana Says:

    Agree, not frugal. As to whether I enjoy them and want to participate, it so so depends on the group. In general I hate the concept of the white elephant—why get some jokey gift that no one would ever use or want? And if you are going to get nice gifts, and other people get crap gifts, or vice versa it just ends up being weird & awkward. Secret santas can be more fun if you know everyone and may have gotten gifts for them anyways. When I worked in a lab we did a secret santa that was really quite fun since it was a group of mostly similar aged people who were all friendly in & out of work so the gifts could get quite hilarious. I got quite good at finding out details about the person and getting specific gifts or defaulting to consumables (beer/wine/chocolate/tea)—but I always got generic gifts back. When the generic gifts were consumables (wine, chocolate), I was quite happy. When I got yucky scented lotions that gave me headaches or so-not-my-style jewelry, I was annoyed. Adults don’t do gifts in my family and we have small families (only our 2 kids on his side, and 2 more on my side) so we don’t need to do anything like that to stay frugal.

    In our book group we do a yearly book swap/white elephant-style. Way more fun, its a group that loves to read so really everything is good!

  12. Debbie M Says:

    The best secret Santa thing I participated in started with a long survey with questions about your favorite colors, candies, foods, movies, books, what you do for fun, where you’re from, etc. After seeing the survey, I figured I could probably get some ideas and took the plunge. My favorite thing I got for my person was favorite quotes, since she liked to collect quotes (?!), including ones from around the office, like when our boss’s boss said “I like win-win scenarios. Usually I have whine-whine scenarios.” (Hmm, this could be useful in y’all’s jobs as well.)

    Another good one we had was where people listed some of their interests and then we got them toys. Everyone unwrapped the toys and laughed or oohed and aahed over them and then they got donated to “Orange Santa” where poorer staff at the university could pick up gifts for their kids. (Orange Santa needed the presents to be unwrapped so the “shoppers” could see what they were getting and then they would be wrapped up afterwards.)

    My favorite “white elephant” gift to bring is homemade banana bread. It usuallly goes to someone who would actually want it, without practically causing fights like a massage would. And it’s pretty affordable, even using whole wheat pastry flour, especially if you don’t have nuts (some people have nut allergies anyway). I’ve also given away a pot with transplants from my pothos ivy (but I had to box up a note about where it was with a picture because I couldn’t figure out how to wrap it).

    For what to take home with me, I try to pick something that I like but don’t think anyone else would like, though one time I did try hard to get a home-made crocheted bell Christmas ornament and this totally paid off because even though I didn’t get it, the person who made it saw that I loved it and made me another one.

    At one, we traded ornaments. This doesn’t work for people who don’t collect ornaments, but many people do, and there’s only so much you could spend on an ornament, although they can get pretty tacky.

    But actually I find all these things stressful as well as spendy and prefer not to have gift-buying traditions of any kind.

  13. Mel Says:

    I don’t participate, and you sum up my reason well right here: “I don’t see the point in anonymous reciprocal gifts. I don’t like being forced to give things to people who I don’t know very well who don’t need stuff.” I guess I don’t really see the point of gifts for adults. Either you have the money to buy yourself something when you want it (or the ability to save to get it), or you don’t but there is the expectation that someone else should spend their money on you for something you want. (Giving someone the gift of something they need but can’t afford, such as helping with medical bills, I put in a different category.) Whereas gifts for kids who don’t have the money to purchase things for themselves makes sense. And purchasing gifts for people you don’t know and therefore have no clue what they would want feels pointless. I can give them an Amazon gift card, but can’t they get that for themselves? I have long suspected that I would not do well with Christmas if I had to celebrate Christmas because I don’t really get the excitement of gift giving or receiving.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      What’s the point of holiday gift giving at all — that would make an interesting deliberately controversial post!

      • Mel Says:

        We give and get zero obligatory presents at the adult level in my world. If we want something individually, we get it. (Obviously being mindful of expenses and discussing bigger purchases before diving in.) If we want something that we think both people would like, we talk about it and get it. If I see something I know the other person would want if they were there to see it, I get it for them, just because. But I give it to them the moment I purchase it. I don’t hold onto it and then gift it at a holiday or birthday.

        At the kid level, I see the point in giving a gift of an item that they can’t purchase for themselves. Our kids are saving all of their money for a big trip when they’re in high school, as Josh and I did when we were starting high school. I want them to have that experience of travel, so I feel okay purchasing toys and such now. Again, I rarely do it on their birthday. It’s more that they express that they want X, and if I think it’s a sound purchase, I get them X. In that way, they are never disappointed. They always get exactly what they wanted, and I usually involve them in the purchase so they can note the value of the item and understand how our money is being spent. You’d be shocked how many times they’ve thought about it and said, “I don’t want X anymore” when they weigh how much it costs vs how much they’ll use it vs what they probably won’t be able to get in the future because they blew the budget on X.

      • Ana Says:

        I don’t know if its actually controversial…but more an issue of personality. What Mel describes—not giving/getting gifts for adults—is what we do in my family, and I would NOT want to get obligatory gifts at christmas or any other holiday. But sometimes I do really like to receive a thoughtful gift from someone close to me. Its a really nice feeling that someone knows you that well, and takes the time to choose something they want you to have. Every once in a while I come across something I really want to get for my husband and I do get him gifts on occasion. Sure he can buy himself whatever he wants, but he may not know they make those fancy bitters or that this book is right up his alley!

  14. Mel Says:

    Oh, I just saw Ana’s comment above. Yes, a book exchange as part of a book group makes sense. Bring a book you love that you think others will love based on the reading tastes of the group and THAT is a gift.

  15. rs Says:

    I love the gift of chocolate fudge anytime anywhere. No need for any other junk.

  16. Shannon Says:

    My family hosts a white elephant, and usually every adult and teen participates. I wouldn’t mind getting rid of it all together, but it’s this big family tradition. We keep the peace by putting in one gift for all of us (not 4 as others would do) and by buying some random obscure thing that only we could possibly want. We then pick and unwrap (or steal) our gift, act surprised, and both keep the peace and get something we want. Seems to work reasonably well for us.

  17. SP Says:

    I don’t (as much) mind white elephant gifts, especially those that come with instructions to find something around the house. BUT – we generally donate or get rid of junk relatively promptly, so even then…

    But I still don’t like them and find them to be a waste of time :)

  18. Cloud Says:

    I hate White Elephant exchanges.

    My extended family sometimes does the “draw a name out of a hat” gift exchange thing when we all happen to gather for Christmas, and I don’t mind it in that context. We’re all family and either know each other well enough to buy someone a good gift or can ask the person’s spouse or kid for suggestions. Also, that is the side of the family that is completely cool with wish lists, so you often have an explicit list of gift ideas to go from.

    My opinion about holidays in the office is that they should be very lightly acknowledged. As a manager, I usually bought a small gift for everyone in my group (a bar of nice chocolate, or a tin of nice tea- chosen depending on the recipient) and then took the group out for lunch once the holiday madness had settled down in the new year. I would never, ever organize a gift exchange. That enforces a familiarity that is just not always there. Also, on a diverse team, some people don’t celebrate Christmas.

  19. anandar Says:

    My office does an annual “white elephant” style book exchange, and it is totally fun and doesn’t feel wasteful (the books are always used ones that the giver has already read). And my focus for Christmas giving to family is on food items + books, and that feels good to me.

    But I am becoming grinchier and grinchier in my attitude toward Xmas presents overall, especially for kids. Where I remember getting a single present from each set of grandparents, now, even the most frugal set of grandparents (mine) can’t resist buying a toy + book(s) + clothes + stocking stuffers for each grandchild, and my in-laws really go overboard (all nice stuff, too– it is only the quantity that I can (and do) object to). Each year they claim to have excercised restraint (and it could indeed be worse), but it is still IMO too much (to the point that my husband and I basically don’t buy presents for our own kids, to avoid contributing to the overwhelm). I am curious how much of this change is the relative cheapness of consumer products today and how much is other factors.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We don’t buy Christmas presents for our own kids either because of the in-laws’ present-giving. We just fill stockings.

      My parents give what I consider to be a reasonable amount– they pretty much just give books. :)

      I only had one grandparent growing up, and she always gave my mom a check for each of us which my mom would use to buy one expensive thing (a porcelain doll or a science kit, etc.) for each of us from Grandma, but then she would never ever cash the checks. Of course, grandma had 7 surviving kids and about a million grand-kids.

      I keep thinking that with each new grandkid, DH’s parents will become less generous, but we still get a ton of stuff at holidays. They are doing more asking us what we want or just giving us what my SIL says their kids want, whereas when DC1 was the only grandkid, they would carefully pick out each gift regardless of what we thought. (And DC1 always loved it, so…)

      • M Says:

        Oh man – here is our problem! I have two stepkids, and they are super duper spoiled by grandparents and other relatives. Because their parents are divorced, and one set of their parents’ parents are divorced, they now have four sets of grandparents. In my opinion, only my parents (their step-grandparents) give them reasonable minimal gifts. I suppose their other grandparents don’t go too overboard, but it just adds up when you get a $100+ gift from each set of grandparents… Anyway, so we don’t get them very much for Christmas or birthdays. My husband would probably get them nothing if it were up to him. But I insist on getting them something – usually something practical like PJs and socks, as well as something they actually want but that is relatively modest (like a video game or art kit or whatever). Anyway, now the kids think that my husband and I don’t love them because we don’t get them gifts (they don’t remember or appreciate what we do get them) because they have such a distorted sense of expectations because their mom and other family members give them so much. (And this just adds to large issues we have to navigate in dealing with them being raised by two households with different values). How to navigate??? They are 11 and 12 so should be starting to be old enough to appreciate our subtle point of “we don’t buy you that much BECAUSE we love you and don’t want you to be spoiled,” but not so much…

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Maybe you can start making 529 contributions now? Not necessarily for tuition if you were going to cover that anyway, but for books and living expenses in college? Or you could pay for experiences as a gift.

        Not really sure how to teach kids not to be materialistic in that situation though. It’s tough.

  20. crazy grad mama Says:

    My feeling on White Elephants is why bother? I don’t really see the fun of opening junk gifts.

    My husband’s family does a Secret Santa exchange among the adults. It does work out to be cheaper, as we then only have to buy a gift for one adult instead of several, and we all have Amazon wish lists, so getting something the recipient will like isn’t too hard. The less-good part about it is that the group of participants is rather extended. One year, I was assigned to buy something for my brother-in-law’s father-in-law. It felt pretty impersonal.

  21. chacha1 Says:

    I hate these kinds of forced-participation exchanges and dodge them whenever possible. Last Christmas the husband’s extended family did one, but we didn’t find out about it until literally the day before so we just told them “sorry, not enough notice.” This year we are staying home for Christmas (yay!).

    These exchanges apparently are not A Thing in California law offices, so I’ve never had to deal with it in the work environment. But family – yes. Ugh.

    • chacha1 Says:

      Oh, I forgot the kicker – they did Secret Santa *and* White Elephant. All for adults. This is a semi-regular thing, we usually manage to avoid it – often because nobody tells us it’s happening until we’re already en route – and it is just something we have to sit through awkwardly when we get there.

      We much prefer to give (and get!) host gifts. Whoever is hosting the party gets something from us. But really … these are grown-ups, with plenty of their own stuff, who do not communicate with us at all at other times of the year, so … why would they want to give us a gift? And vice versa? Nobody in the family, including us of late, has money to spare. Or rather, nobody has twenty bucks to spare that could not be much better employed.

      IMO these exchanges are explicitly non-frugal. The frugal gift to exchange is a handwritten note.

  22. Mrs PoP Says:

    I’d argue that these are more frugal than the other common alternative we face in impersonal [read: not-really-voluntary-but-not-really-friendly] gift giving. That is, exchanging equivalently valued gift cards (which inevitably are to stores/restaurants we don’t want to go to since people don’t tend to like the things/places we like). Given the choice, I’d take either one of these schemes instead any day of the week since they end up costing ~1/10 as much.
    As someone who has a tough time socializing at parties sometimes (especially when I’m the spouse at a work party for Mr PoP), I appreciate the structure these bring to an evening. They’re party entertainment – another thing to do at the less-formal work holiday gathering instead of playing yet another round of Taboo or sitting around awkwardly talking to people that you don’t have all that much in common with and who are getting increasingly inebriated (while you stay sober) as the night wears on. Not to mention, it is fairly entertaining to watch multiple people who earn $80-$100K/year fighting over a $20 crockpot.
    But are they frugal? No.

  23. Rosa Says:

    I hate gift exchanges among adults, in general. Unless they just involve envelopes of cash.

    That said, I worked in an office that did a Yankee Swap/White Elephant gift party when we all came back from the Christmas holiday (it was an education company, so they followed basically the public university schedule, though our breaks were shorter) and it was pretty well understood that most of the gifts were things we’d all received and didn’t want – so new but unpurchased and not yet decluttered. Plus the bosses added in a bunch of really nice corporate swag, from the “we receive gift baskets from vendors & customers” stock that they could have just taken home themselves. So there were lots of unwanted gift cards and nice chocolates in among the random branded mugs and ugly lamps and sweaters.

    I found it a lot less stressful than my previous employer’s delicious and frugal-ish but lots of work holiday potluck.

  24. middle_class Says:

    I don’t mind white elephant. I just feel sorry for the person who gets my unwanted junk. I do think secret santa is way more frugal than a gift for every adult in your family. This woman I know has to get 18 gifts (children, grandchildren, son- and daughter-in laws). Yikes

  25. First Gen American Says:

    Wow. I Guess I am one of the few on this list who isn’t grinchy about xmas swaps. The two I go to have participants that are funny as hell and super creative. We still talk about the crazy antics of past swaps and laugh all over again. It’s about the banter, and the trash talking..kind of like watching mystery science theatre. Sometimes it’s fun to watch a really bad movie and make fun of it as entertainment.

  26. Mutant Supermodel Says:

    I participate in them and I don’t place much value on the item, I place the value on the experience. $10 – $20 for an entertaining experience is not frugal? That being said, I have actually gotten some good gifts at white elephants. I haven’t been in a secret santa environment in AGES. Last year I got a set of mason jar glasses that I love and I’ve gotten wine too. It’s a fun game to play especially when there’s a mix of gifts from gag to practical. Most of the memories I have of those things are not the items but the way people acted and how much fun we had.

  27. Rosa Says:

    I came back to add – spending expectations in my husband’s family & extended family are so high ($50+/person, basically) that a $20 gift limit would be super frugal and going to a swap/white elephant would be SO MUCH EASIER. I have just given up advocating for less gift-giving because it makes my in-laws hyperventilate, but every year it makes me angrier and angrier. I hate the work involved, and the way it exposes how little attention anyone actually pays to each other the rest of the year (I am currently trying to think of things I actually want that fit their “this is a gift I will actually give” criteria, and there’s literally no overlap). Some of his cousins have said, in mass emails, that it is an actual financial burden for them. But nope, not negotiable, this is the only way to Do Christmas, and they’d rather keep the heap of gifts even if it means some families skip the gathering entirely.

    • chacha1 Says:

      What if *everybody* who didn’t truly want to participate skipped the gathering entirely? Would that get the message across so that the holiday could be reconfigured? Or would it just start WWIII as the inlaws tried to find out who instigated the gift strike?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Maybe everybody who didn’t want to participate could all meet together for a splinter gathering… (WWIII!)

      • Rosa Says:

        That really would be WWIII.

        So far the discontents are, like, 5 out of 50 people? At least openly (everyone with little kids, basically, because it’s the biggest burden then) It’s a really big family and we’re talking into the 2nd cousins here. I had the worst fight of our relationship every year for several years with my husband, at midnight at the end of the family christmas party, until i just gave up. I can personally skip it, if I’m OK staying home all alone, but there’s no way he will.

  28. Should people exchange gifts at all at traditional gift giving holidays such as Birthdays or Christmas?: A deliberately controversial post | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] know we just had a deliberately controversial post, but Mel’s comment got us thinking.  Specifically the parts where she […]

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