Dirty Santa Play-by-Play: A Tale of Woe and Undoing

There's always one person in a Dirty Santa game who gets dumped on. Someone inevitably hits the jackpot and then watches helplessly as it all unravels. This year, at our annual family get-together, it was my husband.

Maybe he brought woe upon himself when he stole the animal-shapes waffle maker from my cousin's super-sweet wife. (To his credit, he was only dutifully carrying out my wishes that had been whispered in his ear). Or maybe I brought woe upon us both when I talked trash to my cousin before the game started and told him he was "goin' down!" An analysis of the pivotal moments of the game reveals that the waffle-maker steal was a definite turning point. It all went downhill from there.

As a coach shows slow-motion video footage to his players after the big game, so we shall now re-visit yesterday's Dirty Santa dirtiness.

Once my husband grabs that waffle maker, I know that it's only a matter of time before someone else steals it from him, rendering it "dead," unable to be stolen again. If only I can swipe it from my own husband (a lateral steal), I can ensure that the waffle maker goes home with us. But alas, Aunt Joyce gets to him first. So it goes.

Gift #1...lost. Which means our kids will continue to eat Eggo waffles.

Husband has to dig under the tree again for a replacement gift. He opens a phonebook-sized reproduction of the Sears Roebuck Catalog from the 1800's, with lots of strange, old-fashioned items in it. As he flips through it, it is obvious that he is not quite sure what to make of it, and neither am I. My mom, who happens to like strange, old-fashioned pictures, is next up in line. She also feels sorry for him, like a good mother-in-law, and I am almost certain she takes it from him so that he can choose something else (a sympathy steal).

Gift #2...lost. Thankfully.

Husband, left giftless once again, contemplates swiping someone's gift (a rebound steal). But he is told that he must return to the tree, since rebound steals are forbidden (although they are known to happen occasionally, under the radar). So then he opens a manly-looking hat with a light attached to the front of it, which even has a manly knife of some sort included in the mix. But in our family of manly men, the man-hat lasts all of 25 seconds in my husband's hands.

Gift #3...lost. "Nooooo!" he pleads. It falls on deaf ears. The man-hat is no more.

Husband then concedes to open the gift that our daughter has enthusiastically selected from under the tree and plunked into his lap. Body creme and a $20 gift card to McDonald's (yessss!) In the hierarchy of Dirty Santa gifts, gift cards are usually pretty sweet, even if they're from McDonald's. Visions of free happy meals for my children are dancing in my head until my cousin's wife...the first waffle-maker casualty, as you recall...sees her opportunity. She swoops in and claims MickeyD's as her own (a payback steal). Bam. It's the equivalent to a quarterback sack, as the coach reviewing the plays would explain.

Gift #4...lost. Tragically.

Husband faces the barren tree, with one gift left underneath it. It's like throwing a hail mary pass. He reaches for it, opening the paper slowly, hoping desperately for redemption as bittersweet memories of the treasures that slipped through his fingers cloud his thoughts. And he pulls out --

A guitar-playing turkey that sings Feliz Navidad when you punch the PRESS ME! button on his foot, as his neck wiggles side to side, forward and back. A far cry from the waffle maker.

But our kids love it. I mean, they REALLY love it.

Please, someone. Save me from Jose Feliciano, whose song now plays in our home and in my head over...and over...and over...

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas! From the bottom of my hearrrrt!

Until next time,

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