In a serious answer, my wife once got horribly insulted at one of those yankee swaps because she made some hand-knitted mittens and a scarf and a bunch of homemade cookies, and then had the lack of foresight to pack them in one of those giant tins you get three flavors of stale-ass popcorn in. With a ribbon tied around it. And then she wondered why people went out of their way to get rid of it.
The last guy who thought he was stuck with a shitty gift was sure happy when he popped the top on the can, though.
Yes, that was my thought. When we throw those swaps here at work (in Chicago), the idea is to do obnoxious gifts, and I think perhaps someone doesn’t get the right idea for the gift exchange in the case of kids.
In 2nd grade we had a gift exchange musical chairs style (sit in a circle, pass the gift around, whoever has the gift when the record is stopped gets the gift). I convinced my dad to buy a cool Transformers toy. As we did the exchange, the gift from the poor kid in our class came up (he was basically Kenny from South Park). We couldn’t pass his gift around fast enough. Unfortunately, the teacher must have felt that I was mature enough to accept his crappy gift because she stopped the record when it came to me. It was a figurine of General Kael from Willow (the guy with the skull mask), except it had no moving parts and was meant to be displayed on a plastic stand. I threw a shitfit. It was pretty shameful, but I didn’t care at the time. I was expecting something AT LEAST as cool as a Transformer.
We do this at the holiday party where I work, and here’s how it goes:
Everyone draws a number at the beginning of the party.
The person with the first number selects and opens a wrapped gift.
The person with the second number may either steal the first person’s gift (in which case the first person gets to open a new one), or opens a new gift.
From then on, whoever’s turn it is can steal someone else’s gift or open a new one. People who are stolen from may also steal someone else’s gift or open a new one.
At the end, the first person gets to go again. They can keep whatever gift they currently have, or steal from anyone else.
No steal-backs during the same round. That is, if you have something good and someone else takes it, you can’t just take it right back from them. But if someone steals your second gift later, you can then steal your original gift back from the person who has it.
No single gift may be stolen more than three times. This rule was instituted in a previous year where a particularly desirable gift was apparently stolen practically every round.
If someone has the bad luck to unwrap a particularly lousy gift, they’re probably stuck with it. The only way to get rid of it is if someone else decides to steal it from them. When you’re stolen from you have a free choice of any of the currently unwrapped gifts or any of the remaining wrapped gifts. So although someone can get stuck with a bad gift, this can only happen if they chose it from the selection of wrapped gifts themselves. No one can be forced to take a gift that’s already been opened and revealed as bad.
Well, according to my cousins, a cousin of their’s on the OTHER side of their family (got that?) apparently had more My Little Ponys than any of his girl cousins combined. Maybe there was someone similiar who picked out the Barbie?
Thanks, Lamia, that makes sense. Though I kinda feel bad for the gifts that are considered “bad.”
Guin, that makes sense, but you’d think in this case the parents would be the one actually buying it or helping the kid pick it out, and might gently steer him away from a gift that most boys wouldn’t care for. I know there are boys who love Barbies and My Little Pony and that’s awesome, but I do think that the majority of young boys would probably turn up their noses at that kind of gift.
The one time I played this game the rules were slightly different from Lamia’s. There was no second round, and the next person in the queue picked the wrapped present to either open or trade. The first person to go invariably gets screwed, and the last person gets their pick of all the gifts.
At the parties I’ve been to, this game is considered a “white elephant” gift swap, so everyone knows going in that they probably won’t get anything fantastic. Part of the fun is seeing who gets stuck with what crazy thing. There’s a lot of kitschy stuff like toys or ornaments. But a fair number of the gifts I’ve seen at these parties are obviously things that are being regifted but that aren’t truly awful – scented candles, books, DVDs, gift packages of food, a bottle of wine, and once a small tea set. This year I regifted a DVD I didn’t want and wound up with a box of homemade fudge, so I felt I made out pretty well! The lamest gift of the evening was probably a decorative Christmas box containing…a disposable plastic rain poncho. But at least the box was nice and could be reused.
At a previous job (where everyone was making a lot less money) I once wound up with a large can of hairspray, and NO ONE wanted to steal it from me! Another year I got a box of canned green chile peppers, which was kind of weird but I gave them to my mom and she used them for cooking so they were at least useful.
I’m thinking maybe some of the other parents in the OP’s troop assumed that this was going to be a white elephant type swap and sent gag gifts they knew boys wouldn’t like. It may be that the troop leaders didn’t do a good enough job of explaining what was going on. But personally, I think a Yankee swap with all good gifts isn’t such a hot idea. When most of the gifts are cheesy, people aren’t going to get too upset about things being swapped around. If there are a bunch of really cool gifts then it seems a lot more likely to lead to fighting…especially when kids are involved. Frankly, I wouldn’t do a Yankee swap with younger kids at all, the whole gift-stealing thing is bound to be upsetting for a lot of them.
That’s the way we do it. And I got stuck with crap the past couple of years. This year I took home a floor jack. By choice. Tools are real popular with my group. My contribution had been a small safe with a digital lock.
I suspect this was one of those “Oh crap! Why didn’t you tell me you have to take a gift?” occasions. No time to go shopping so they grabbed the spatula set that Aunt Emma gave them last year and slapped some paper on it.
How old are boy scouts anyway? I know a few little boys who like Disney princesses as much as they like Disney characters who share their genitals, but they may be a bit young to realize how gay it is to like girls.