For the second year in a row my cousins and I are participating in our annual holiday gift exchange.
We prefer to take the “white elephant” approach, playing a game whereby each participant brings a wrapped gift within a set budget. The gift can be anything – new, used, nostalgic, silly, practical.
We draw numbers to determine the order of who gets to choose from the pile first, and as we go through the procession one has the option to steal someone elses gift or pick a new one from the pile.
The game is fun and relieves some pressure from everyone both socially and financially. Really, what do you get your cousin from LA who assumedly gets acupuncture in Malibu with P. Diddy while sipping a pomegranate infused something-or-other? And by the way what’s a pomegranate?
I understand the dilemma. Plus most of the cousins are in college so asking them to spend money could be kinda gauche.
As the oldest of the bunch I felt a rare sense of responsibility to start the tradition. So around this time last year, I sent a message to everyone on Facebook explaining the exchange and providing a set of rules.
Yes, every single one of my 6 cousins is on Facebook.
And Yes, it’s the most effective way to reach them.
I take it as a sign of the times. I occasionally send the cousins messages to inform about an upcoming family get-together, or a quick reminder to vote.
I try not to keep tabs on activities that their collegiate freedom entails – photos of random debauchery involving beer pong and keg stands of which apparently have yet to become technologically defunct.
We’re all becoming more connected than we think. Family members are not only a phone call away, but also an im, tweet, meebo, myspace or fb message, blackberry message or text away from receiving instantaneous communication on the go via text, audio, photo or video.
This year, rather than everyone getting drunk enough to easily enjoy one another’s company and pretend that we didn’t know what you did this year, I figured we could give it a go the (ideologically) grown-up way.
Snarky remarks, bad jokes, and off-handed political commentary – bring it on! Maybe that’s the real game we play.