Love it or hate it, theexchange is now a big part of the holiday party circuit. So while you're making a list and checking it twice, don't forget about the white elephant in the room.
Personally, I love a good white elephant. The sanctioned thievery and the air of mystery recalls the Christmas spirit of my credulous youth. And I also just really love buying the kinds of things that, for whatever reason,.
If you hate white elephant exchanges, chances are it's because you hate having to come up with a gift. It's just one more thing to buy, you say. I hear you, but I also offer a rebuttal. Introducing… the.
You may have heard of these little egg-shaped digital pets. First hitting US shelves in 1997, the humble keychain game is now 25 years old, which is about 9,000 years in Tamagotchi-time. The Tamagotchi is a standalone handheld game featuring a pet that hatches from an egg and grows up as you, the player and caregiver, attend to its every need. That includes feeding, providing enrichment, disciplining and, of course, cleaning up its fly-orbited poop. It was basically theof its day.
Procuring a Tamagotchi in 1997 was, for me, a classic Jingle All the Way-style exercise in capitalist desperation, which made the toy all the more enjoyable when I was finally able to play with one. Given it's the toy's 25th anniversary, there's never been a better time to recapture the thrill of that particular chase.
The art and science of what makes a good white elephant gift
The perfect white elephant gift meets four criteria: price point, wide appeal, stealability and balance between humor and utility. In this essay I will argue that the Tamagotchi, which is now readily available onand at other chain stores like , and, weirdly, , is the rare quadra-fecta of gifts that meets all four.
Let's talk about price point first. The white elephant exchanges I've participated in range from $50 to "wrap up a half-melted pillar candle and call it a day." At a reasonablehits right in the middle, making it perfect for the midrange budget and the cheap-to-free alike.
And like a stocking stuffer or a sharp cheddar, the original Tamagotchi pairs well with other things, if your price point's a little higher. For instance, wrap up a Tamagotchi with afor a "viral toys: then and now"-themed gift Or pair it with a and give the whole spectrum of fake pets.
The next criterion: You want wide appeal because you don't know who's going to end up with your gift. The Tamagotchi transcends most demographic borders, namely age, because it's got the nostalgia factor thatenjoy, while being a genuinely enjoyable . And the Tamagotchi has always tried to bust the gender construct by being a video game (masculine!) about caregiving (feminine!).
Now let's talk stealability and balance. Half the fun of a white elephant exchange is the stealing. But at those unfortunate parties wherein most-to-all gifts are undesirable even in an ironic way, stealing just doesn't tend to happen. An unopened package, after all, holds much more hope for the future. Unlike, say, a set of dish towels or hand cream, the Tamagotchi is highly stealable. I think this is because it's fun and cute and a little goofy, and it doesn't take up too much space. Plus, it's ironically hip to revel in '90s nostalgia, and it's perhaps earnestly hip to.
Tamagotchi just has that je ne sais quoi, situated at the very narrow overlap between funny and useful in the Venn diagram of mass production. This is important because some white elephant exchanges mandate "good" gifts while others exist solely for the laughs. Tamagotchi is good: Check. But a Tamagotchi is also kind of funny, though more whimsical than hilarious: Check. Watch a fellow party guest unwrap a Tamagotchi and their face will light up in recognition and delight. They may even exclaim giddily that they.
"Oh, they definitely do," you'll say. "And I've bought one for every holiday gift exchange."