The Real New Year’s Big Game

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - January 09, 2008
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I could not wait for the big game on New Years Day. I had been anticipating it throughout the Christmas season. We were invited to my brother-in-law’s home to partake in this much anticipated event. I had even mapped out a personal strategy on how the game should be played.

No, I’m not talking about the Sugar Bowl, I’m taking about our New Years white elephant grab bag game. For our annual family gatherings, we have theme games which have become traditions. During the summer, when all our Mainland relatives come out, we have a huge Texas Hold ‘em poker game. On Christmas day, there is our family BINGO game, and of course on New Years, we play my favorite, the white elephant grab bag game.


This is a brief description of how we play. First, everyone needs to bring a wrapped gift, the contents of which cost only a few bucks or are re-gifts. All the gifts go in an anonymous pile and each is assigned a number. We all gather around the pile and oneat-a-time draw a number, going from the youngest person to the oldest. The first person, the youngest, unwraps their gift. The next person up, has the option of picking a number for a wrapped gift or they can “steal” the one from the person before them. The gift can be stolen up to three times before it has to remain with their taker. Of course the quality of the gifts basically suck, except for one which everyone wants.

In this case, it was our own Sugar Bowl, a big can full of Chupa Chups lollypops. I simply had to win that as the annual undefeated champion. The Chupa Chups can was the first gift opened so I had a poor start to the game. I was praying that it wouldn’t be stolen three times before my turn.

My prayers were answered as after one steal, it was my turn. Of course, I took the Chupa Chups, which suddenly increased their value, and I became the targeted player. The next person immediately took my prize and I protested to my wife who was the official game referee. It was a “juice” call and she sided with the other player. I ended up with an oven mitt and a dish towel. I guess the lesson here is that it’s not so much winning the prize, but all the fun you have getting to the game.

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