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The Christmas Gift Exchange

Today was the office Christmas party.  It was held at a restaurant one can only get into with reservations made light-years in advance.  We were served a lovely buffet and I ate way too much.   I had chicken, turkey, pork, shrimp, ahi (fresh tuna) and squid.  I tasted several different salads, had a bit of rice with curry sauce (more shrimp), and tasted 4 different desserts — well, truthfully, I more than tasted the flan.  I ate every bite and considered licking the last of the caramel sauce from the bottom of the dish.  (I did manage to restrain myself.)

After the eating came the service awards.  After the service awards came the door prizes — none of which I won.  BUT, after the door prizes a basket came out.  It was filled with envelopes and everybody not called for a door prize was to take one.  Irene, one of my co-workers, couldn’t decide which of all the identical envelopes she wanted.  She kept picking envelopes up and trying to figure out what was inside by rubbing them and holding them up to the light.

I just reached out and took an envelope, than started to walk away.  “Wait!”  Irene called.  “What did you get?”   I looked back at her and shrugged, showing her that I hadn’t opened the envelope.  “Open it, please,” she said.  “I want to know what they’re giving away.”

I opened the envelope and extracted a Starbucks Gift Card.  At the same time, Joe, another co-worker opened a Block Buster Video gift card.  Irene looked at the Block Buster Card and then she looked at my Starbuck’s card.  She reached in the basket and grabbed an envelope.  I started to walk away.  “Wait!” she called.  “I’m going to open this envelope and then if I don’t like what’s inside, we can trade.”

Halfway through the door, I stopped and turned back to look at her.  “You forgot to take into consideration that I am happy with my gift and I don’t want to trade.”

“Ugh!”  She said and put the envelope she’d been holding back into the basket.

The last thing I heard as I walked away was her muttered, “Don’t tempt me,” after Joe dryily asked her why she didn’t just open all the envelopes then take the one she liked the most.


  1. LOL! Starbucks works for me! But I’m with Betty — I’d be happy with anything. EVEN Blockbuster. I would give it to one of my kids! 🙂

  2. Your Co-worker sounds like a very unhappy person and like Betty said should just be happy with what she got in the envelope.

    A Blessed Weekend is wished for you and OC

  3. Doug has the best comment ever. 😀

    A nice meal at a good restaurant, flan, door prizes, free gift certificates… In an economy where a lot of places are cutting back on not only the Christmas parties, but also the staff, “thank you” is more appropriate than “no, I don’t want this, I want that instead.”

  4. Hehe, guess everyone works with an “Irene”. I’ve known my fair share.

    Oh, and I followed you on Twitter. I have no clue why my account wouldn’t let you follow me unless there was a glitch in the system when you tried.

  5. Irene sounds like someone I might try to avoid.
    I’m not a fan of selfish people.
    Can you imagine Irene on The Price is Right?
    She’d be frightening.

  6. Betty — I agree!

    Melli — If I could have picked, I would have picked Starbucks, so obviously I was happy. However, I would have taken whatever I received with a thank you and, like you, find someone who did appreciate it if, for some reason, I didn’t.

    Doug — obviously somebody has to.

    Kat — I am planning great things with this — if I only had time to learn how to do them! AND, you miss much when you stay gone for ages. WordPress had a blogger’s unconvention here in Hawaii and I was one of the speakers.

    Bill — I agree.

    Lisa — my sentiments exactly. And as a contract worker, I was counting myself doubly blessed to be included!

    SN — yes, the world has too many Irene’s.

    Dr. John — and both can be blessings, or at the very least, warnings!

  7. Shelly — some people don’t understand subtly. I figured Irene for one of them.

    Carletta — Doug doesn’t want gold stars, but he’ll probably take a doggy bone.

    Nessa — yeah, but we don’t exchange gifts, these were from the bosses — and moments after the Personnel Director explained how hard it was to come up with employee gifts this year. In fact the grand prize, usually a weekend stay on a neighboring island, was a paid day off. So, in light of all that, imho the only appropriate thing to say for any gift at all was thank you.

  8. It sounds like your coworker has some problems in her life. Sad that she doesn’t have more self esteem, because if she did she would know that whatever is in the envelope is good and accept it with gratitude. You handled the situation very well.

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