Wednesday, December 29, 2010

White Elephants and Green Umbrellas

As I mentioned in the previous post, we had a white elephant gift exchange for teens and adults during the Christmas Day party at my place.  The theme for this year's gift exchange was green and/or letter "T".  The gift had to be between $15 and $25.  The theme was randomly selected the week before Christmas.  So we had about a week to pick the gift.  I had two ideas -- a green Seattle Sounders soccer shirt or a green, hand-blown Christmas ornament I had seen at a Made in Washington store.  Either of those would be my emergency pick if I were not able to come up with better ideas.  A friend also offered a green frog jewelry holder for me to use for the gift exchange.

Also new to this year's gift exchange were prizes offered to the most creative/popular gift selections as voted on by all the participants after the completion of the gift exchange.  The prizes were provided to get more people to participate and be more creative in their selection for a gift.  I took myself out of the running for the prizes since I was the one providing them.  My selection got a few mentions during the voting.  There were plenty of nice gifts.  As always, there are always a few gag gifts which adds to the hilarity of the gift exchange.

My gift selection for the white elephant gift exchange:  Two 5" x 7" sized photos, shown below, each placed on a green bordered frame.  I thought it was creative and met the required theme -- green umbrellas, my green vest, green picture frames, and the group photo taken by a tourist (random Japanese visitor that I had asked at the shopping center).  The two frames were only $2 found in an "as is" bin in Ikea more than six year ago and the photos were only 99 cents each.  I had planned to add $15 in cash to meet the price threshold.  In my haste, I forgot to include the cash when I was wrapping the gift.

How did I come up with the idea?  It was all unplanned.  It was a rainy day.  I was with three nieces and a nephew Christmas shopping at the University Village shopping center in Seattle.  I called one of my nieces to bring the car keys with her at the parking lot so that I could drop off a shopping bag in the parked car.  I picked up a large (golf player size) bright yellow umbrella, which is provided for shoppers in front of all the stores at the shopping center.  Because it was such a big umbrella, I had to dodge tree branches and other umbrellas on our walk back to the mall.  My niece suggested that we use the smaller green umbrellas instead.  These were also for customer use.  My niece had a bright idea of taking a picture of me with two umbrellas wearing a green vest and use the photo for the white elephant gift exchange.  As not to be thought of as a narcissistic, I suggested that we take a group photo instead.  When we found my two other nieces, I asked a tourist passerby to take a picture of the four of us holding the green umbrella.  My other two nieces had no clue that the photo was to be used for the gift exchange.

Unbeknownst to the others who were shopping with me except for the niece who came up with the idea, I ordered an enlarged print of the two photos at a quick service printing shop in the mall.  The two photos are shown below.

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