Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bad Gift Exchange Party

Last night we had my favorite party of the year -- the Bad Gift Exchange.  It's become an annual tradition with my girlfriends.  Setting it up is fairly easy:  pick the date, get out the blender, make the muffins.

And we bring our bad gifts.  Many of these aren't really bad, they're just things that belong in Somebody Else's Home.  The cookie shooter.  The  latest Stieg Larson book.  That blue sweater that's not quite her color. A few years ago, I brought a GPS I'd received . . . that was a huge hit among my friends (but as for me, I prefer paper maps).

There are also some doozies, of course.  Some of our favorites:  the glittery, sequined sweaters given to the flannel-shirts-and-work-boots-wearing woman.  The gold reindeer planter.  The statue we still refer to as the "Leper Dog".  This year, the two untouchables were the glittery snowman statue
This photo doesn't do the statue justice,
which is probably the kindest thing to say.
and a set of kitchen stickers.
Apparently, these stickers are very trendy.
Apparently, my friends and I are not.
There's occasionally jewelry -- this year, there was a bunch.  I'm not a necklace/bracelet kind of a person, so I was politely sitting on my hands as one of my friends explained she had a necklace . . . and then she said the words "leopard print" -- so I pounced.
My new leopard-print necklace.  Score!  
We take turns telling stories about our gifts.  Mothers seem to be an amazing source of "not really me" gifts.  But it's amazing how often we find that one woman's trash is another woman's burning passion -- you hear a lot of, "If no one else wants that, I could use it for . . . " Many people leave feeling like they took "all the good stuff".  Even the sequined sweaters and the singing bass have found happy homes.  Actually, even the leper dog eventually found a proud owner -- he was a freaky candle holder, but it turns out he's a great garden statue.

There's a lot of laughter and commiseration over the stuff that no-one wants.  There is a little pleading: doesn't ANYBODY want that Eat & Drink sign?  Could we rearrange the letters to say something else?  Are you SURE nobody wants that snowman statue?  Our friends who don't show up often discover we haven't forgotten them, and they get mementos of the party, too.

We've done this enough that it's changed the way we look at receiving gifts.  More than one of my friends tells a story of opening a positively awful gift and having a genuine smile of joy on her face. With all sincerity, we can exclaim, "Wow! This is great!  Wait until my friends see this!"

We just can't say where.


  1. I'm so sad I missed it. I had rehearsal that I thought I could leave 30 minutes early and be at your house at 8:30, but I wasn't able to leave until well after 9. It sounded like so much fun!

  2. Dang, we missed you, too! I saved you some stuff on "organization" that you asked for. And I'm pretty sure we could wangle you an "Eat & Drink" sign for your kitchen . . . you want it???

  3. Is it removable? We have a rental. But not so much of a decorating scheme, so it would probably work. :)