Okay... hear me out.
Growing up, my extended family did a big Christmas party each year and I remember it being pretty much magical. My uncle who is a DJ would be in charge of the music and we would sing Karaoke. The hall we rented out of course had a dance floor. My cousins and I would run around and play cops & robbers (essentially tag - with a timeout spot). There was lots of food and presents. Then it faded out. We tried to bring it back when we were older by renting out a cabin mansion (in my mind) in Southern Ohio that slept 35 people. Again, there was lots of food and presents. Again, it was magical, but faded out for various reasons after a couple years. People moved, people started getting married and having families, traditions changed as they do.
This year, we tried to bring back that magical feeling, but it was a total last second idea. Immediately, there was kickback about dates and various other details. It quickly turned into simply a cousin party, rather than a whole family party. Then there was question about whether it should happen at all when a family member unexpectedly ended up in the hospital.
The day of the party, everything that could go wrong, pretty much did. The host (my sister in law) wasn't even home when the party was scheduled to start and my brother ended up out of town for work. I was supposed to be in charge of waffles, and I forgot all the toppings at home including the syrup. I totally forgot it was supposed to be a pajama party as well. And lastly, I had told SOME of my cousins that there would be a white elephant gift exchange, but I didn't tell everyone. And, of course, to go along with the theme, even I forgot that I had said there would be a gift exchange. The professional organizer had thoroughly blown every detail. The irony was not lost on anyone.
You know what we did? We laughed really hard. As for the gift exchange, I instructed my young nephews to search their toy boxes for things they didn't want, and I instructed my cousins to search their cars for items they didn't need. Everyone found a way to wrap them and we played a hilarious version of White Elephant. My four year old nephew was OVER THE MOON excited when he opened his car trash gift - a magazine with campers on it and those cup holders that fast food restaurants give you. It was magical in it's own totally off-beat way.
There's several points here. One, we are brilliant for coming up with this eco-friendly version of White Elephant. Two, obviously people need a personal organizer for their cars too. Ha! And three, our lives are totally not about our stuff. They're about our people. We didn't need lots of food and presents. We just needed to laugh and enjoy each other.
I'm voting for Car Trash White Elephant next year too.