Author Topic: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange  (Read 7520 times)

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Chia

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Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« on: December 17, 2012, 11:47:09 AM »
Last night I went with my husband to the yearly holiday gathering for his residency program (possibly relevant note: since the program is 5 years, the attendees vary as people progress through the program. Also, as residents tend to work 80 hours a week, they tend not to be home much. As a part of the gathering, there generally is a white elephant exchange. The gifts for this range from funny to useful. For example, the gifts this year ranged from a niceish blanket to a snuggie and some silly movies. Then there was what my husband found in the box he wound up with.

He opened the box, and immediately this look came on his face: :o Inside the box was a live hamster.

Seriously.

Eventually, a starter kit for the little guy was produced, while my husband and I, vaguely shellshocked, tried to figure out how to make this work with Christmas travel plans, work, a cat, and a 16 month old daughter.

Bless the hostess for the party (the wife of the attending in charge of the program) for insisting on switching gifts, but the morning after has left me wondering.

While I know where the term White Elephant comes from, I feel as if there's a fair expectation that the modern tradition doesn't include live animals. Am I off base in this?

LeveeWoman

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 11:54:04 AM »
No, you are not off base. This is one of the stupidest things I've heard of in a long time.

Yvaine

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 11:55:39 AM »
This is just a hugely bad idea for so many reasons, and in some cases could end up with the poor animal not being cared for well. Bless the hostess is right!

Lynnv

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 11:55:47 AM »
Last night I went with my husband to the yearly holiday gathering for his residency program (possibly relevant note: since the program is 5 years, the attendees vary as people progress through the program. Also, as residents tend to work 80 hours a week, they tend not to be home much. As a part of the gathering, there generally is a white elephant exchange. The gifts for this range from funny to useful. For example, the gifts this year ranged from a niceish blanket to a snuggie and some silly movies. Then there was what my husband found in the box he wound up with.

He opened the box, and immediately this look came on his face: :o Inside the box was a live hamster.

Seriously.

Eventually, a starter kit for the little guy was produced, while my husband and I, vaguely shellshocked, tried to figure out how to make this work with Christmas travel plans, work, a cat, and a 16 month old daughter.

Bless the hostess for the party (the wife of the attending in charge of the program) for insisting on switching gifts, but the morning after has left me wondering.

While I know where the term White Elephant comes from, I feel as if there's a fair expectation that the modern tradition doesn't include live animals. Am I off base in this?

You are completely NOT off base.  This was a horrible gift.  Thoughtless, stupid and downright rude.

And whoever got it should be stuck with the pet...but, given the lack of care, the pet probably shouldn't be stuck with him/her. 

Live gifts should only be given between people who are close (spouses, parents and children, etc) and even then only when there is a firm agreement that the recipient really wants to take on a pet (or, in the case of a child, that the parent is willing to be responsible for the animal). 
Lynn

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JenJay

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 11:56:38 AM »
I'd be pretty upset! An animal is not something you can just donate to goodwill if you don't want it. I hope the poor little thing ended up with someone who really wants him.

There always has to be that one person who ruins it. Twice I've participated in the "bring a gift in the $10-$20 range" parties only to end up with someone's garbage. One year it was literally a pile of junk mail and another year it was an old homemade Christmas decoration. A live animal trumps both of those, though. At least I could toss mine.

turtleIScream

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 11:57:51 AM »
Someone seriously gave a live hampster? The number one rule of gift giving (even for White Elephant exchanges) is to not create a burden for the gift recipient. Especially if such burden involves moral/ethical repercussions. You cannot simply dispose of a living creature like you can a tacky coffee mug.
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Black Delphinium

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 12:00:02 PM »
Man, I thought this was going to be about a plant or something...that is beyond normal.
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Winterlight

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 02:19:21 PM »
Ye gods, what a horrible gift! The giver was incredibly thoughtless and dense.
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edgypeanuts

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 02:29:39 PM »
Wow.  As someone who has been known to lecture people about 'using' live fish as centerpieces, this would NOT have gone over well in my presence. 

My response would have been non ehell approved and I don't care.  Something along the lines of are "you freaking kidding me?" and "who is the jerk who thought this was a good idea?" would have probably been my first reaction.

Just Lori

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 02:36:44 PM »
I had a long response typed out, but I can sum it up easily:  No. 

Pet adoption requires planning and commitment.  Otherwise, no.

SingMeAway

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 02:51:46 PM »
Why do I keep thinking that someone thought the white elephant give-away was the perfect way to get rid of an unwanted early Christmas gift to their child or something ::).

magicdomino

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2012, 02:55:13 PM »
Why do I keep thinking that someone thought the white elephant give-away was the perfect way to get rid of an unwanted early Christmas gift to their child or something ::).

Or the two hamsters that the parents thought were both boys or girls turned out to be one of each.  Either way, I doubt the hamster was purchased especially for the occasion.

Betelnut

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 03:32:56 PM »
That is so inappropriate ...  Wow, what an idiot to do that.

Poor little hamster.
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doodlemor

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2012, 03:33:57 PM »
POD everyone else.  Poor, poor little hamster.  I hope that the new home will be a good one.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2012, 03:37:39 PM »
Well, I must say, the gifter was taking the concept of the white elephant exchange to heart.  From what I remember a white elephant gift was one whose maintenance costs exceed its usefulness.  Or something you had received as a gift that you did not want.

But really poor planning.