The zoo- I mean, office I currently work in is no exception. In fact, it may be the best example.
The best time of the year for jungle animal observation is during the Christmas holiday party season.
It’s just an odd scenario, really. You’re faced with the dilemma of purchasing a gift or gifts for people you see too often but probably don’t know THAT well and maybe even don’t like. Then you have to hope that you avoid the awkward situation of receiving a gift from someone who will not be receiving a gift from you.
“Your gift is on its way, I promise.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it.”
“NO! It’s not a thing at all. I already ordered it and everything but it’s from this specialty site and it’s back ordered and stuff, so… It’ll be on your desk asap. No doubt. I have a meeting now soooo…”
Past companies I’ve worked for have done white elephants or ornament parties where there are guidelines, maybe a theme. Not this one. Nope. And given the history of the past two Christmas seasons, I’m ecstatic to see what surprises next year holds.
One of the animals in our jungle is a dear old woman, we’ll call her The Witch of the North. She’s 72, shakes a lot, never maintains eye contact, when she corners you for a conversation it’s never work related and always takes too long to get to a point that doesn’t exist. She’s a gem.
Last year, she sweetly presented me with a gift bag. I thanked her. And opened it. Aveeno hand lotion. Yes, that. Like what you get from CVS or Target. It’s the thought that counts. Apparently she thinks I have rough hands. Fair enough.
I checked with Abby, one of my cool co-workers (fellow zookeeper).
“Abby, what did tha witch get you?”
Abby pulls out the exact same thing that I got. At least she’s consistent.
This year Abby and I were both super excited to see if we would get more hand lotion. Maybe this year we would get tissues! Then I could make a gift set and re-gift both to the pre-teen neighbor boy down the street!
“Go easy there, guy.”
No tissues. Just more lotion. But a different brand this time!
Did Abby get the same thing???? I had to know. Oh, good! Here she comes.
“Abby! What did you get?”
“I don’t know. Let’s see.”
Abby pulls out the tissue paper from the gift bag and pulls out more hand lotion. #sopredictable as we eye roll with a patronizing upside down grin on our faces as if to say, “Oh, Witch of the North! You, rascal!”
Then Abby says, “there’s something else in the bag.” She pulls out a ham. A ham. You read it correctly. A ham. A cured slab of dead pig. At some point the good witch noticed the package was leaking. Because this ham, which was inside packaging already, was also stuffed inside a ziplock bag.
Merry Christmas, Corporate ‘Merca. That’s what she told Abby and me. Merry Christmas and a moisturized New Year. And, Abby, eat tha ham!