Author Topic: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange  (Read 6790 times)

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heartmug

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2012, 05:07:51 PM »
Yikes!  My dd is allergic, so that would not be a "gift" I would be bringing home.
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VorFemme

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2012, 05:21:25 PM »
Well, just when you think that you've heard "everything" - the idjits come up with something NEW & IMPROVED in the way of idiocy.
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MommyPenguin

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2012, 05:23:55 PM »
I guess it does sort of follow the original "white elephant" idea.  Which, if I understand correctly, was that a white elephant was considered special and sacred, too special to allow to do work.  And yet it needed to be fed, and elephants eat an enormous amount a day.  So, basically, giving somebody a white elephant meant that they had to feed it and keep it alive (to do otherwise would be terrible, considering that it was a sacred creature), but they couldn't get any work out of it that would make it worth its keep.  It was a gift that would destroy you and your family.  I don't remember if the emperor didn't get that or if it was given deliberately to enemies.

That said, I think any sort of live animal is a horrible gift, and should never be given to anyone unless you *know* they want it *and* are happy to have you choose it.  For instance, for your spouse or child.  Basically in no other circumstance.

VorFemme

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2012, 07:01:09 PM »
I guess it does sort of follow the original "white elephant" idea.  Which, if I understand correctly, was that a white elephant was considered special and sacred, too special to allow to do work.  And yet it needed to be fed, and elephants eat an enormous amount a day.  So, basically, giving somebody a white elephant meant that they had to feed it and keep it alive (to do otherwise would be terrible, considering that it was a sacred creature), but they couldn't get any work out of it that would make it worth its keep.  It was a gift that would destroy you and your family.  I don't remember if the emperor didn't get that or if it was given deliberately to enemies.

That said, I think any sort of live animal is a horrible gift, and should never be given to anyone unless you *know* they want it *and* are happy to have you choose it.  For instance, for your spouse or child.  Basically in no other circumstance.

I understand that the white elephant was a gift from the king to someone who was getting "ideas" - think Snape saying "someone might think that you are....up to something". 

Being "up to something" got you a sacred white elephant - which should keep the person too busy with sacred duties and feeding the elephant to get up to anything in the political arena.....or so the king would be hoping.

Assassination was so much more hassle than handing over a sacred white elephant - not to mention messier politically.
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Drawberry

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2012, 07:53:26 PM »
Not only is that just plain wacky, but it's extremely dangerous. The gift giver is assuming that whoever receives the animal will: a)Want it
b)Care for it
c)Afford to care for it
d)not just let it die

As a youngin' I gave a Hamster to a good friend of mine, approved by her mother and all. The gift included food, the hamster, a cage, etc. Her mother, a woman I wouldn't trust to run a bath now I am much older, left the hamster in it's cage out on their apartment balcony in the middle of summer and literally cooked the poor thing alive under the sun.

I was torn. But my friend and her mothers uncaring attitude told me that even if someone wants a pet and it's approved that doesn't mean they SHOULD own one.

An animal isn't just a throw away gift, it's a living creature that needs care and love. It really bothers me when people flippantly gift live creatures in this manner. 

KenveeB

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2012, 08:02:30 PM »
What a horrible, horrible idea. The poor hamster! I despise the concept of pets as Christmas presents. They should be carefully considered and chosen by people who are ready and prepared to have them.

GreenEyedHawk

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2012, 08:30:26 PM »
That's a terrible idea, live animals should never be given as surprise gifts.

 The one and only time I've ever given an animal as a gift was to a dear friend who had lost a cat several months before his birthday, and around his birthday time started thinking that he was ready for another.  For his 'gift', as previously discussed with all the members of his household (and him, so this wasn't a surprise) we took a trip to the local shelter and he chose a kitten; the gift part was just me paying the adoption fee.
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Chia

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2012, 10:52:13 PM »
It's so nice to know that you aren't out of sync with a decent portion of the world.

In case anyone is wondering about the eventual fate of the hamster, I got a bit of an update when my husband got home from work tonight.  ;)

The little guy wound up finding a home with one of the other residents, though she hasn't decided on if she'll stick with the name Cow* or if it will end up being named after the hamster from Bolt.

I'm glad that a good place was found for it. I wish we could have taken it home, but circumstances weren't really good for adding a teeny little guy to the house, since soon my daughter and I are heading up to visit family for Christmas and my husband would be working nearly constantly while we're gone.

*The little guy is black and white and partly patterned like a cow. Right after he first opened the package, someone asked DH what he was going to name it. "Cow" just popped out.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2012, 12:12:58 PM »
Just to complicate things, the gift of a white elephant was also considered to be an honor in some circumstances. For example, if the king gave a white elephant to the ruler of a neighboring kingdom, who presumably could afford to keep it.

The King of Siam gave a white elephant to President Lincoln. There being no room for it at the White House, and Lincoln having other things to worry about, he in turn gave it to the National Zoo.
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Morty'sCleaningLady

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2012, 12:27:32 PM »
Suddenly, the dollar store reject pen caddy (in faux brass) looks better.  Who would gift a pet to a stranger and more importantly, who would wrap it in a box?
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lowspark

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2012, 12:31:00 PM »
I've participated in many of these kinds of exchanges, some meant to be real "white elephants" as in, get rid of your junk, and some meant to be "good stuff" as in, something you'd be happy to receive. And I've seen (at both kinds of exchanges), some real doozies.

But I gotta say, this one wins the prize. It would be the last thing I would expect upon opening a gift and I'd probably scream. I would definitely just relinquish it immediately and tell everyone who ever wanted it could have and that I'd be ok with going home with no gift but there would be no way on this earth I'd take home an unsolicited hamster from a gift exchange.

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2012, 12:36:14 PM »
And here I thought that the live rabbit and all the extras (cage, food, etc) as our classroom's "basket" in the silent auction at the Halloween carnival was a bad idea.  At least the bunny wasn't at the carnival (it was a certificate for a bunny).  Poor little hammie, wrapped up in Christmas paper. 
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exitzero

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2012, 12:44:41 PM »
I've had hamsters in the past, and I'm sure one thing they didn't think about is that hamsters straight from the pet store aren't always tame. It can take a few days of gentle coaxing to get a hamster to trust you.

Throw a scared, boxed up hamster into a party where there is noise, and lights and who knows what else, they were lucky no one ended up with a nasty bite.

artk2002

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2012, 03:08:43 PM »
It is *never* right to give the gift of a live animal when the recipient isn't wanting and expecting it. Kittens, puppies, hamsters, Komodo Dragons. Never.
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darkprincess

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Re: Live gifts at the white elephant exchange
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2012, 04:41:39 PM »
I host a white elephant party every year. There are usually 20+ people in attendance. We have had five instances of animals given and I wonder what people think.
1.) Sea Monkey kit
2.) Smithsonian Prehistoric Sea Monsters (allot like sea monkeys)
3.) butterfly garden kit
4.) frog terrain kit
4.) Betta fish complete with tank, food, etc

In the first two the kit comes with some sort of eggs that when put in water hatch to be the sea monkeys or sea monsters. These kits stay on shelves for years so I am guessing the eggs are dehydrated or something.
The second two require that you send in a coupon/voucher to the company and then they send you the caterpillars and the frog eggs.
The third was an actual live Betta. The person who opened the gift found a box with a note in it and then the person presented her with the fish/tank etc. The tank was set up to be something you could put on a desk at work, small, compact. I later on found out the Betta fish do not need a big tank, and are very low maintenance.

Each year these were the most popular gifts, They were traded many times before the end of the game. Due to the number of people attending I would be very surprised if someone ended up with one of them who didn't want them. In fact many people were visibly disappointed that they didn't go home with them.

The reason I am asking is I am the one who makes the rules for the exchange. In the past we have had to add rules when problems arise. I guess I have never seen a problem so after reading this I am wondering what people think about the gifts mentioned above.