A white elephant present can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be decorative or useless, it can be expensive, or timeless, and it certainly by reputation can be odd. Some may opt for an eclectic White Elephant party, some party’s may require you to visit your weird uncle’s basement and some may set no rules at all.
At our headquarters, we sit right on top of a magical kingdom some may call a brewing process. Over the years we’ve learned the ubiquitous aromas of malts and barley will only speed up a workingman’s 5 o’clock shadow. So as cliché as it sounds, we didn’t choose a theme for our office’s white elephant extravaganza, instead the theme choose us: ALCOHOL!
Now before we reminisce down memory lane on all of the ludicrous gifts we have either given or received, let’s brush up on the history before attending our next white elephant shindig. It just might save you from taking home the yodeling pickle or the ranch flavored dental floss.
Many centuries ago, the monarchs of Southeast Asia possessed white elephants to show that their kingdom was blessed with peace and prosperity. The monarchs would give white elephants as blessings and favors to people in their villages, but the laws protected these white elephants from doing any kind of labor. So you were bedeviled to take care of a very expensive animal that couldn’t be put to any kind of practical use. Later down the historical road, on the eve of Buddha’s birth, his mother dreamed of a white elephant presenting her with a lotus flower, a common dream that represents wisdom and purity. I’m sure many of our staff members will dream of a white elephant presenting them with a bottle of tequila infused with wisdom and prosperity.
Across the pond in the west, we assimilate the term “white elephant” as a rather expensive burden that doesn’t meet up to its expectations. We all have seen someone go home with a saxophone that they don’t know how to play, or see someone go home with the Twilight series they will never read or better yet, we all feel bad for the person that has to go home with the creepy doll everyone dodged the entire game. That’s not really how our tribe rolls, so we decided to take matters into our own hands and stick with a $20 budget that must be spent on alcohol. That way no one has to scavenge through one man’s trash to find another man’s treasure.