Our family (Meaning my mothers sisters and their families) started a tradition a couple of years ago where instead of buying each other presents we instead do an ugly ornament exchange. We always hold our family Christmas on New Year’s Day now, and the ornament exchange has become an important part of these traditions.We do it much like a white elephant exchange using our family’s rules for that which is slightly different from the traditional white elephant. Our rules are this:
- Everyone brings a gift wrapped ornament and places them under the tree. Generally we try to over decorate, because you want your present to be incredibly tempting.
- We draw numbers/ or this year went youngest to oldest to pick a present.
- When it is your turn you can choose a package from under the tree, or you can steal from someone else.
- You cannot immediately steal a package back, there has to be another action between the steals.
- Usually we set a 3 steal limit, meaning on the third steal the gift stays with the person who stole it.
- Once we all have gone and everyone has a package we open them and see the rewards of our work.
It is immensely satisfying when your package is highly sought after when you know that your ornament is absolutely horrifying. Of course, ugly is in the eye of the beholder and some of my absolutely favorite ornaments are ones that have come to me by way of an ugly ornament exchange.
Some of the best places to find ugly ornaments: Michaels, World Market (both of ours came from here this year, as well as a gift of a tacosaurus ornament for my cousin Robby and his new wife Sharon), Target and ,sadly, Hobby Lobby. Though I no longer shop there many of my family members do. My mother swears by Walmart as well, but I have not had the luck she has. Joann’s is a crapshoot.
All this being said, below are the spoils of this year’s exchange. Seth and I came home with a giant pug head and a rather frightening ballerina. My mother and sister a toilet and a monkey. My aunt Gayle’s family took home a sasquach, a cow, a vw bug wearing antlers and a giant mollusk shell. My aunt Cathy’s family gathered a clip on palm tree, a baby in a buggy, an angler fish (my contribution and man is it ugly!) and a seahorse. My older sister will be receiving my husband’s choice in the mail which is a six pack of santa beer. Photos below for ogling and horror.