Country Living (USA)
Jolly Gold St. Nick
Contributor Mary Randolph Carter on why it’s sometimes better to grab than receive.
It was (almost) the night before Christmas some five years ago when I spotted this glitzy Santa in one of my favorite junk haunts. I was on the hunt for a crazy one-of-a-kind gift for my family’s “Nasty Christmas” extravaganza, and he was perfect. Depending on where you grew up, you may know this exchange game as “Yankee Swap,” “White Elephant,” or even “Dirty Santa,” but for those unfamiliar, here’s how it works: Every player brings a gift—the more absurd, the better— wrapped in a way that disguises what’s inside. Everyone gets a chance to choose a wrapped gift or “steal” from someone who has gone before, hence the “nasty.” The last player is luckiest of all because he gets to choose from all the now-revealed booty. Which leads us back to my goldenfaced Santa. I had him all ready to add to the pile, and I found I couldn’t do it. What if he ended up with someone who didn’t appreciate his charm and—holiday horrors!—he ended up on a trash heap? You better believe I spirited this Santa away before the game even began, and now his brilliant visage oversees all the joys (and nastiness) of Christmases past, present, and future.