Dreading your office Christmas party? Totally flummoxed over what to bring to the White Elephant gift exchange? Let Anna Rousseau, Geoff Johnson and Chip Johnson from Durango DOT Comedy offer their proven strategies for choosing the perfect White Elephant gift.
Strategy #1: Deception
Something that looks legitimate and desirable, but is actually broken or in some state of disrepair.
Geoff: We have, like, eight TVs at my house, and at least two of them are busted. When someone opens the big box, everyone’s going to be like, “TV!” and they’re all going to fight over it, only to get it home, plug it in and realize the [expletive-ing] thing doesn’t work!
Strategy #2: Thematic
Items that have a common theme. These gifts are usually ironic in one way or another.
Chip: It might be workout DVDs, or all of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. Or it might be all of your co-workers’ business cards compiled as a set that you then bill as collectable.
Strategy #3: Quality and/or Useful
Legitimately useful things that are generic enough to be useable by a broad swath of people.
Anna: Socks, locally darned, fair trade, organic mittens …
Geoff: You know, the boring stuff.
Strategy #4: Juvenile Pranks
Trivialities that will make all of your tipsy co-workers laugh at one another.
Chip: Melt some chocolate in a diaper. Technically, you’re giving them candy!
Anna: A positive pregnancy test with a little note that says, “It’s yours!”
Strategy #5: Stuff That You’re Embarrassed To Want
Anything that you wouldn’t buy for yourself under normal circumstances, but wouldn’t mind being able to say, “Oh, it was a White Elephant gift” to excuse having it.
Chip: A home enema kit might be something that seems bad until you try it, and then maybe you’re sort of glad you got it.
Geoff: There’s a story there.
Chip: Not a story that goes into a magazine. But let me just say from a certain amount of experience that a home enema kit is not entirely unpleasant. Especially when shared in a group setting.
Geoff: A group setting?
Chip: Well, there were separate stalls.
Strategy #6: Something That Requires Either Assembly Or Further Purchases
Any item that reminds us of what Christmas is all about: “further assembly required,” and batteries in sizes you hadn’t known existed.
Geoff: What’s better than getting a video game for a $400 system you don’t own?!
Chip: How about a generic, no-name Mp3 player with software and instructions written in Mandarin?
Anna: You could always just give someone batteries.
Strategy #7: Antagonize
Any item meant to piss ’em off, and piss ’em off good.
Geoff: If your office is big into the Broncos, bring a Raiders T-shirt. Or a Chiefs cap!
Anna: Political paraphernalia?
Chip: How about a gift card to a place that doesn’t exist within a 500-mile radius? “Oh cool! $5 to Joe’s Crab Shack!”
Strategy #8: Anything That Says “Durango” On It
Because, you know, sometimes you forget where you live and you need a T-shirt or a mug to remind you.
Anna: ’Cause everyone wants one of those vaguely racist “Original Homeland Security” T-shirts.
Solid strategies, all. What’s the best or worst gift you’ve ever given or received?
Chip: One time, I gave this towel that was half brown and half white. The brown half said “BUTT” and the white side said, “FACE” so that you always knew which side dried which side.
Geoff: But why don’t you just clean your butt more thoroughly?
Chip: There’s a psychological toll that’s taken when you can’t recall if the bit of the towel you’re about to use on your face was just used to dry your nethers.
What do you bring with your office nemesis in mind?
Chip: A Shake Weight.
Geoff: Any kind of pet. A gerbil, for instance. A lizard. Ooo! A fish! In a plastic bag!
Chip: That you’ve already named Gonorrhea.
Anna: Or something that sounds just like Gonorrhea. Plausible deniability.
Chip: Like “Pennis.”
Geoff: Pennis? Oh, I see. Because it’s sort of like penis.
OK, experts. Here’s a challenge: You’re on your way to the party, stop to get gas at a convenience store and realize that you haven’t gotten anything for the White Elephant exchange. $10 limit. Go.
Chip: I turn it into change, buy out the exotic condom dispenser in the men’s bathroom and hope for the weird tickly ones.
Geoff: Gotta get a stack of National Enquirers. Or, if you wanted to be nice, you could buy lotto tickets.
Anna: It’s Durango. Get some Cheetos, some chocolate and some rolling papers and you win.
Cyle Talley can’t stop laughing at the idea of a fish named “Pennis,” which may mean that he’s more of a dude than he’d like to admit. He cannot decide if this is a good thing or not.