When Debbie S. suggested a few weeks ago that we organize a department Secret Santa, my vote was of the FUCK YES variety. I love surprising people almost as much as I love pranking them! And then I proceeded to do nothing while she did 100% of the planning and organizing. Debbie set a budget of $10 for the gift exchange, plus 5 days of $1 gift-giving during the week leading up to the big reveal/office holiday party. We somehow managed to get a good 15 or so people to sign up and I was excited because some of the people were co-workers that I don’t get to interact with very much, so I would have been happy no matter who I picked because I think it would have been fun to get someone random and then ALWAYS HAVE THAT CREEPY SANTA BOND with them.
Kind of like Stockholm Syndrome?
The day of the name-drawing, I was walking past Sue’s office right after I picked my co-worker Sherry to be the receiver of my Santa-ly sneaking.
“Did you know those two bullied Glenn into signing up at the last minute?” Sue laughed as she gestured toward Debbie and Barb’s desks. “That man deserves combat pay!”
My immediate reaction was, “OMG I hope he didn’t get me!” and Sue started cracking up even harder.
By the time I made it back to my office, I already had an email from one very generous co-worker (OMG it was totally Bridget) which said, “I got your #1 frenemy” and then proposed A TRADE.
So that’s how Glenn wound up with me as his Secret Santa. (And that’s coincidentally also how Sherry wound up getting much better gifts than she would have.) His list of $10 gift options included: a Wines and Spirits gift card, a Starbucks gift card, or “any food item.” OH REALLY GLENN. At first I was like, “Asian Market, holla.” But then I got a better idea. Because this is Christmas after all, and I didn’t want to be a total asshole and waste Henry’s money on a bunch of bullshit that he’ll end up throwing away, because—ew. But, more on that later.
Do you know how hard it was for me to keep my mouth shut and just be cool about this? Really fucking hard. And I think I did OK, but there were a select handful of people here who knew (Barb immediately forgot though, so that’s good), and I quickly learned that if I just avoided eye contact with Glenn at all costs, I wouldn’t start cracking up and totally out myself as his big-bellied present-dropper.
And I was really subtle about it too! The first day I left him a candy bar that had beef jerky in it. The fact that it was being sold at Target and not out of the back of Jim Bob’s John Deere made it seem like this was an OK thing to give someone, and even Henry agreed that it was a manly candy bar and I was like, “How the hell would you know?”
His next gift was a One Direction journal, which I thought was useful because he goes to meetings sometimes and who doesn’t like to write their name 13,987 times on scratch paper, placemats, war monuments and bathroom stalls? That can’t be just me. Then I bought him some stuff from Big Fun when I was in Clevland last week, like a tiny book of office wisdom, a mini Vanilla Ice cassette case full of gum, and an Office Brown Noser that grows in water. All good things, yet no bombs or things with his face on it, so why would he think it was me?
Meanwhile, I was getting candy and nail polish every day, which was AWESOME. (On my list of things I wanted, I put: nail polish, cheap jewelry and exotic fruit.) I was convinced that my Secret Santa was either a boy or me, because I got chocolate-covered pretzel rods wrapped in a CVS bag and everything else was delivered in plain white envelopes. And boys, like me, don’t generally get into the whole “wrapping” thing. Especially the ones here, I wouldn’t imagine.
I don’t know what happened to my Day 4 photo, but Day 5 was a set of cotton candy scented nail polish wrapped with a Little Tykes advertisement, which made me laugh. My Secret Santa made coming to work way more enjoyable!
So for the final gift exchange, I did one better than a Wine and Spirits gift card and instead bought $10 worth of mini liquor bottles.
And then I designed Glenn-centric labels because you know I have to put his face on everything. (When my friend Elizabeth found out I was Glenn’s Secret Santa, she replied to me on Twitter: Did you put his face on all his presents?)
I’m not going to tell you the duress that Processor Punch caused me. Maybe another day, but I promise you I was a fraction of a centimeter away from shattering my phalanges and knuckles on a plaster wall.
And Other Glenny Flavors.
Glenn is a processor here at the Law Firm, which means he does stuff that I don’t care to understand. All I know about processors is that they import batches and sometimes refer to something called a synonym list. I wanted to incorporate those things on the Processor Punch label so that the processors could laugh while no one else would care. LET THEM HAVE THEIR MOMENT, YOU KNOW? Yes, even Mean Amber.
So that’s where “This batch was imported!” and “On the synonym list for delicious” came from. I was pretty proud of it because it shows that I have learned something in the almost-four years I’ve been here.
40% Orphan Tears, you guys. Because Glenn is a sonofabitch.
But the real present was a box of oversized cupcakes modeled after the infamous Glenn Would Rather Be Riding The Wacky Worm incident of 2011. Glenn actually still has this hanging up on his desk because it was clearly the best thing to ever happen to him. I turned him into a Law Firm celebrity, basically! OK, not really.
Henry made the cupcakes and brought them to me the night before so that I wouldn’t have to carry them on the trolley the next day, because he’s such a fucking peach. (As it turns out, I didn’t take the trolley that day after all, but that’s another story to tell at the same time I tell the other story I said I was going to tell.)
So I got to work yesterday, with all of my things, totally giddy because I couldn’t wait to give Glenn his stuff, when Mean Amber was actually being Nice Amber long enough to point out that the gift exchange was scheduled for 2:30 that day AND GLENN LEAVES AT 2:30. I had been having A Day so this was enough to put me over the edge and I almost cried real tears when I told Barb, whose best solution was to send an email to the department reminding everyone that Glenn and Sherry both leave at 2:30 (so I would have been screwed either way!) and their Secret Santas should think about giving them their shit sooner rather than later. I didn’t like this solution, because I wanted all of the Secret Santa players to be there when Glenn was being humiliated. :(
My boss Joy saw how upset I was, and agreed that everyone should be there, but instead of just emailing the group doing the Secret Santa thing, she replied to Barb’s departmental email, essentially telling the WHOLE DEPARTMENT to meet her at Glenn’s desk now. God love her. Thankfully, not the entire department showed up (most of them don’t like being told what to do) but a lot of non-Secret Santa people did mosey on over and you could tell they were thoroughly confused as to why they were being commanded to stop doing work and watch Glenn open presents of his face.
Anyway, he was totally thrilled, if not a little stunned as to why a small crowd of oglers had surrounded his desk. He even proudly took down his Wacky Worm picture and held it up next to the cupcakes so everyone could see. And then Nate said I win at Secret Santa, so I wasn’t as stressed out after that. Thank you, Nate, for always saying the right things!
“Where did you get that beef jerky candy bar?” Glenn asked.
“Why, did it make you sick?” I tentatively asked.
“No, it was actually pretty good,” he admitted. Dammit.
You guys, I am just so bored here sometimes (all of the times) that when I get an opportunity to have a little bit of fun, I fucking run with it. I would have still had fun with any other name I could have drawn, but getting to be Glenn’s Secret Santa totally made my holiday season, so thanks for looking out for me, Bridget!
I wanted to also make him a Starbucks-esque mix CD of Lilith Fair Christmas songs, but my fucking CD burner quit working.
(I also got Glenn a rubber band gun, what was I thinking??)
Then at 2:30, everyone’s Secret Santas were finally revealed! Only one person guessed correctly. And mine wasn’t a boy after all! It was Rachel, which explains why all of her tags were printed out because I used to work on this monster of a spreadsheet for her so I’d recognize her handwriting in a heartbeat. Especially if it was written in red ink. Anyway, my final gift was a bunch of bracelets that I love and I’m wearing three of them right now as I type this.
Me, Cheryl and Rachel.
But the moral of the story is that for a week, everyone got to be excited about something and it was so awesome seeing people giddily sneak around, trying to put stuff on their person’s desk while they were away. I suggested that we do this as often as we can, like have Clandestine Cupids, Lurking Leprechauns, Mystery Martin Luther Kings Jrs….? Yay? Nay?