For those of you unfamiliar with the idea of "Secret Santa", everyone draws one name out of a hat and they give out presents to that particular person. It's a great idea, so good in fact that I fully endorse it for how we should elect future presidents (if for nothing else, just to see who would open their present and moan, "Oh fantastic. Who the hell got me George Bush as a president?")
Anyhoo, I heard my name called, they gave me my gifts and I opened them with a smile on my face. Earlier in the week the entire company had a fun meeting where employees proclaimed things they were interested in as to help people get good presents, and I had said, "I like basketball." I figured that I would get a cheesy NBA pack of stickers or maybe a NERF basketball hoop or something.
What I did actually get blew away my expectations.
I opened my first present and found a DVD of the movie "White Men Can't Jump". This alone would have made my evening, since I don't have the movie and it was a hilarious gift. The front of it didn't even have their last names, but rather "Woody" and "Wesley" tacked up on the top of it as if the movie production company ran out of money while printing the cover. Seeing Wesley Snipes' flipped up hat made me grin and wish for a world in which everyone wore those things and had a bizarre girlfriend like Rosie Perez. I remembered that I had "win a ton of money by playing pickup basketball games" on my list of things to do before I die, right after "acquire basketball skills" and "overcome intense fear of inner city basketball thugs."
The next present somehow not only beat the last present, but just knocked it the hell out of the water. I lifted my present out of its packaging and the entire group of people around me erupted in a fit of laughter, easily the benchmark of a good present in my opinion. My secret santa had gotten me a framed photo of Larry Bird, complete with short shorts and mouth hilariously agape while he shot the basketball. His facial expression made it look like he needed a drool cup, and the picture itself was such an enormous size that it would take up a sizeable wall anywhere, including the Sistine Chapel.
I was extremely happy.
After putting my dvd away, I spent the rest of the holiday party walking around with the enormous frame of Larry Bird in my hand, and a jack and coke in the other. People would ask me what my plans for Christmas were, and I would act offended and say, "What...are you just going to IGNORE my friend Larry here? I mean, yes he has short shorts, but that doesn't mean he's invisible." I also, more than once, demanded people give Larry a sip of their drink (Which they did, of course. How could you say no to that face?)
Eventually I found out why someone had gotten me this enormous picture of Larry Bird: My secret santa was actually one of our overseas employees and had little in the way of things to send from there. Also, the television show I currently work on had "Bird" in the title, so it was a clever play on words. This eluded me until the end of the evening though, allowing me to take in the full glory of this completely random-seeming gift.
I'd like to think that somewhere at that exact moment Larry Bird was walking around a holiday party, quickly downing egg nog and chocolate pretzels, while he showed people a gigantic framed photo of me in short shorts. It's visions like that which make the holidays so special.
God bless us, everyone.