When I called my grandmother to reschedule Christmas for everyone (since they had planned to do Christmas a different day), she told me they were going to do Secret Santa this year and asked me what I thought about that. I told her how successful Secret Santa has been with Bill's family, and how I thought it was a great idea. Grandmother and Granddaddy should continue to give to everyone, but all the kids and grandkids would just give to one other person.
It turns out that wasn't what she had in mind. Secret Santa was appealing to her because it meant she only had to shop for one person, instead of everyone, and let's be honest, she's old, and she is trying to tend to my granddaddy, who has recently been moved into an Alzheimer's care facility, so I can understand shopping for less would be a welcomed relief.
However, as compassionate and understanding as I may be, that didn't stop me from telling my parents that I thought secret santa with the Robertsons was a bad idea. And then, when it turned out my very own dad was the one doing the matching of santas, I reminded them that this was a bad idea and something was going to go wrong. I just had a feeling. Not to mention that this meant Bill and I had a really good chance of not getting the Costco gift cards Uncle Ronnie gives year in and year out and we love a costco gift card!!!
Here is photographic evidence of the fateful day where we all piled in to my grandparents' formal living room to enjoy our very first (and what could potentially become annual) secret santa exchange.
There's Bill opening his double crock pot gift (yes). There's a lot of people sorting their loot. And there's Uncle Ronnie chit chatting with Jack's girlfriend (and it is important to note here that the girlfriend has a gift on her lap). Oh and mom is next to Bill with her own double crock pot gift.
What you don't see in this picture are either of my grandparents and their mountain of gifts, my aunt pam with her gifts, my brother because he was taking the pic, or my dad and me. You don't see dad or me and it could be because we were too busy opening our loot that we couldn't get in the picture.
Or it could be because neither of us got a gift.
We both gave a gift to someone else.
But there was we, dad and me, who had no gifts.
In big brother fashion, Lee wanted to know what I got. So I said "nothing." Because I don't believe in dishonesty. And because I got nothing in the secret santa exchange. It was like a slow motion movie. Uncle Ronnie turned on his video camera to interview me (he literally interviewed me about what I got in the secret santa exchange, and how it felt to get no gift) and the whole room took a break from going through their loot to watch the live action interview. The room was silent. And everyone stared at me and kept saying "oh no."
Finally I just couldn't take it anymore, I told the video camera this was all very awkward and could we please just go back to everyone opening gifts.
My grandmother felt badly so she disappeared and came back with a gold box. Inside I found an interesting pair of black gloves with fur wrists. I have never been the reciepient of a handout. It was a humbling experience to receive what everyone can only assume was a regift. I mean, how else did my little ole grandma go buy and box up these gloves so quickly!
Dad felt really badly too, especially since he was the one in charge of assigning the santas. I felt badly because no one even seemed to notice that he didn't get a gift either. And all I can assume is that somehow, in all the matching, my alzheimers' grandaddy got 2 santas, and forgot to go shopping (which isn't funny. But kind of is).
But, I guess it's safe to say that Santa really does know if you've been good or not and the girlfriend must have been real good this year. I mean, how else do you explain how she - who none of us even knew, let alone knew she was coming - got a gift.
And then there was we, dad and me, who got no gift for Secret Santa.