II Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dirty Santa goes Dirty!

Dirty Santa...most all of us have played this Christmas gift-giving game at one time or another. This year, I will be involved in 4 different Dirty Santa's. One at our Sunday School party, one at my family's Christmas party (last weekend) and 2 more this next weekend with Matt's family.
It has come to my attention, disappointingly, that this game has turned truely "dirty" and has none of the Christmas spirit of joy and giving included. I suppose it could be played "nicely" but really, the whole point is to "steal" your gift of choice, thus giving it the name "Dirty Santa" right?
This year, and in recent years past, there has been an increasing number of people "stealing". In the last Dirty Santa I played, people were stealing things just to take them away from the person who REALLY wanted and needed it! (and even vocalized that they didn't want or need X-gift but was "just playing the game haha"). And it's become more acceptable to show obvious disapproval of the gift you open. (RUDE!) Furthermore, when the price limit is set at $25 per gift, and you bring something that you were given as a gift that you thought was dog-ugly and didn't actually spend a penny on it, but then expect to receive a gift that someone actually went out and purchased and especially picked out, in my opinion, this is just WRONG.
I know it's all "meant in fun" but don't tell me that if you went out and spent $25 on something that you LOVE and think that everyone else will LOVE and instead the person who gets it opens it and says, "NO FAIR! I don't want this! Somebody please steal this thing from me" that wouldn't hurt your feelings just a bit?

In one game, there were 16 people playing. Everyone hoped to get #16 so they could go last and pick from anything. Oh...no! It did NO GOOD for #16 this time. By the time we got to that person, everything that anyone wanted had been stolen 3 times and was already frozen. Poor #16 was left to either steal something that noone wanted (the re-gifted items) OR open the last gift, which turned out to be something for a girl..and he was a single guy. Bummer.

I'm just saying that there has to be a better option. We've tried the drawing names thing. That doesn't work either because these days, not everyone keeps their word or will commit to coming, and so you end up with a few people not showing up-which means they didn't bring the gift they were supposed to get and they aren't there to collect the gift that was brought for them.

I know, you might say, just drop the whole gift thing altogether. It's crossed my mind, but I think that would be sad. Even us adults enjoy getting a little sumpin-sumpin for Christmas and quite honestly, in our family, if we cancelled the Dirty Santa games, the adults would get NO gifts for Christmas except for what their spouse and children buy them.

Maybe I'm too hung up on the gifts. Call me materialistic if you want, but I do recognize that I LOVE gifts. When I read Gary Chapman's "The 5 Love Languages" I hated to hear it (it just feels selfish and non-important) but one of my love languages is definitely gifts. I LOVE to give gifts and I LOVE to receive gifts. So there. Say what you want. :o)

So I'm wondering, does anyone have any other suggestions for ways to give gifts among families without it turning into this awful, mean, rude stealing game?


Amy said...

Maybe make it a rule - and make sure people stick to it - that people have to bring something they would like to receive. Tell them the joke-y gag gifts thing is getting old and you'd like it to be a heartfelt, give a good gift type gift exchange. And get others who agree with you to voice their opinion too. If enough people get together and tell the crappy-gift-givers to play nice then they'll have no choice but to go with it or be excluded from the game.
Or make a rule that says if you bring a gift no one wants then you will be stuck with it. Just kidding but seriously people. Be nice!

Tammy said...

I've never heard of the Dirty Santa thing. And from the sounds of it, I don't like it! Anything that can get that nasty takes away from the spirit of Christmas.

I say go the name-drawing route. If it's with family, they should all being willing to commit. Just set a limit and then remind everyone as the big day draws closer. And maybe the person who hosts is responsible for buying an extra gift or two in case someone forgets.

You could also have everyone bring a gift, toss it into a big Santa sack and then everyone pulls one out. You get what you get and that's it! Just some ideas. It should definitely be FUN!!

Christy said...

Oh, we had Dirty Santa go bad at work! I don't have any suggestions except don't play :o) I see my coworkers in a different light. Tis The Season!

Kate said...

Oh Jen, I hear ya. This game has gotten more and more out of hand each year we play it with my in-laws. Even though it was originally intended for the adults, now the kids cry to their parents that they want something in particular and to steal if from someone. That's just wrong. After they've all just opened a butt load of gifts on Christmas Eve and will get more Christmas morning. And it's so mean to be so ready to give away a gift you don't want or keep passing it along to someone else and making it very obvious. I hope you get some good suggestions for improving the game - wish we could try that too, but my one BIL controls the entire game.

Amy said...

I was reading one of my favorite sites and found this article about giving gifts. I wonder if something like this would work to solve your problem next year. Draw names and ask each person to make a list of something they would like to receive that is within the dollar amount you chose and that is something they want, something they need, something they can wear, or something to read. That way everyone gets something they'll actually use and no stealing or ugliness. I like it!
Check it out at:


Rene' said...

bummer, so sorry it turned out so bad. My thought is to make it much cheaper so that regardless of whether u get something u want or not, u are only out $5-$10. Also, they are adults they should be reminded that its impolite to act rude when opening ANY gift! Also, maybe make it gift cards only-draw them out of a hat , possible trade once, and that's it. Leave a basket by the door and if anyone doesn't want theirs they can drop it in the basket on the way home and either the host gets it (as a gift for hosting), or make it known they will be donated to a local charity or something.

Rene' said...

also one year at a ladies group at church we said it had to be a Christmas decoration we had that we no longer used (but still in new condition), so u got to get rid of something u don't use, but yet came home with a "new" decoration to use in your home. It worked out well. But lets face it, church ladies are much nicer and more polite than some family members-ha ha

KC said...

Set a price, then all the girls bring a girls gift, and all the boys bring a boys gift. Then label them all the girl/boy gifts with a number and draw numbers (girl draw girl gifts numbers, boy draw boy numbers) and thats the gift you get (you just cant get your own).