While the holidays are fading into a blur, what emerges as a highlight is the White Elephant regifting.
Christmas can be so wrapped up in the gift. But in this one instance, it’s entirely not about the gift. More importantly, it’s about the feeling that comes from the unexpected, not-trying-too-hard gift. The spontaneity of it all. And, the absurdity.
Let’s face it, where do you buy this kind of laughter from?
A White Elephant is the swapping of gifts with a specific and chosen small group. The rules for our family are simple: It can be something you already have, but it has to be something someone else might want.
This has become a tradition in my household because it brings people together. When people aren’t trying so hard, that’s when the holidays turn magical. Memories are made.
So one by one, each family member chose from the pile of beautifully wrapped presents. The theme of this year’s White Elephant was “unusual pairings.”
One family member unwrapped a half-opened and used package of new toothbrushes. But at least five toothbrushes were still unopened. That came with the bonus gift of wood-handled screwdrivers.
My brother-in-law chose a black leather-bound family photo album. Then he opened the bonus gift and a full salami hit the floor.
It was hilarious.
That moment still makes me smile.
Another tradition is when my kids purge their toy chest to make room for the new inventory from Santa.
I tell them, “Let’s give these toys to children who don’t have any toys.”
It’s a chance for others to enjoy the toys they no longer play with. Again, this is a form of regifting, but it is a spiritual act of keeping only what is useful and giving with purpose and intention.
To us, this is the spirit of Christmas.