An Actual Fun Office Christmas Party Idea — REALLY!

Damn it.  (No, that’s not the Christmas party idea.)  I meant to post this earlier.  Like in November.  But I forgot. Because in spite of not being terribly fond of Christmas any more, this is a great idea.

Thanks to Doobster for his post The Office Christmas PartyIt reminded me that I forgot.  Or something.

So embedded in this story is the great office Christmas Party idea.  Whoever comments on it first gets to give me his or her favorite stuffed animal.

A Different Toy Story

Nobody suspects I would have done anything of the sort.  I’ve fooled them all.  Well, at least I’ve fooled the folks I work with.  And that will do.

You see, we have a terrific Christmas tradition at my office.  We have a party, yes, and it’s actually fun because we like each other.  And the highlight of the party is a gift exchange.   About two weeks prior to the party, we choose the name of a co-worker, and bring a gift for that person as if he or she were 7 years old.  We open the gifts and have a great time guessing who gave it to us.  Then the toys are collected and given to a local charity.

We have a blast, it’s for a good cause, and everybody tells their funny childhood remembrances of what we would have done with a toy like they got.

But it was awkward for me this year, because I got a doll.

She was a beautiful, blue-eyed doll with rosy cheeks and curly blond hair just like mine.  Any girl would love her and gently care for her.  Any girl would treasure that pretty doll.  Any girl would have given that beautiful doll to her own daughter to love, too.

Google Image from Etsy

Google Image from Etsy

Link to doll

Any girl but me.

Because for the most part, I hated dolls.  And for most of my childhood, I did anything to avoid playing with them.  Except when I was about 7.

Well, I guess I answered honestly when I said that, uhhh, yeah, I would have played with the delicate dolly.   And, yeah, I would have played with it when I was about 7 years old.  So yeah, the gift, umm, fit me.  I didn’t elaborate, though.

I didn’t, for example, tell anyone that the dolly would not have been happy with the situation.

I blame my parents, they bought that particular house.  I blame my brother. Me, I was innocent.  I was led astray.  I was forced to do it.  The fact that it was hilarious and became one of my favorite memories is completely irrelevant.

You see, the house I grew up in was next to the railroad tracks.  And naturally, because it was strictly forbidden, my brother Fred and I used to spend lots of time playing on the tracks.  We’d put our ears to the rail to listen for trains, and, once we were sure none were coming, we’d run across the tracks.

That was fun for part of the first summer we lived there, but hey we were 6 and 9.  We needed growth opportunities.

We flattened pennies until we had enough to lay track from New York to New Haven made entirely of smushed Lincoln faces.  For a while we would wait for a train to come and then hop across the tracks, trying not to trip and die.  Fortunately we both succeeded and outgrew our interest in that particular challenge.  We tried to flip the track switch so that the train would jump the track and go down our driveway instead of on towards New Haven.  But for some reason, someone had locked the switch, and no matter what we did, we could not get the train to go down our driveway.  It was probably just as well.

One day, I got home from a friend’s house to find that my favorite stuffed animal, an orange poodle won for me by my dad, was missing.  Naturally, I accused my brother of hiding it.

“I didn’t hide it, Lease,” he said.  “I played with it.  It was just sitting on your bed,” he said in that brotherly tone that indicates I was stupid for questioning him.

He walked into my room, grabbed another stuffed toy, my stuffed Pebbles doll with the plastic head, and said. “Come on.  This is really neat.”

Out we went, down to the tracks.  We waited and waited, putting an occasional ear to the rail.  Finally, Fred placed Pebbles on the tracks.  Like Pauline, Pebbles looked skyward.  Like Pauline, as the train approached, her feet wiggled.  Unlike Pauline, however, there was no rescue.


We would have let Pauline go, though. Really.

The train whizzed by sending the most delightful plume of stuffing up and out, way over the top of the train.  It was a hit.  We rushed back for additional victims.  All my stuffed toys and each and every doll met a sorry end.

As it turned out, today at the party, my boss had picked my name, and the doll was from her.  “Would you have played with a doll like her?” she asked, no doubt envisioning me dressing her up and playing with her like other girls.

“Absolutely,” I said, weighing the doll and imagining just how high up this particular doll’s stuffing would go.

*     *     *


Filed under Adult Traumas, Awards, Bat-shit crazy, Childhood Traumas, Christmas Stories, Family, History, Holidays, Huh?, Humor, Stupidity

74 responses to “An Actual Fun Office Christmas Party Idea — REALLY!

  1. This is completely opposite of me, but I laughed.


  2. I loved this story and the visuals it created! When I was a kid, we would occasionally make the trek to Idaho to play at “Lava Hot Springs.” I don’t remember much about the actual hot springs – but what I DO remember are the train tracks right across the road. We also made flattened pennies – but I never listened for the train first. I guess I’m lucky that it wasn’t me that was flattened.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked the story.

      Trains are actually pretty loud they don’t sneak up on you. But as we pulled our pants down before we hopped across, we liked to be sure!


  3. Elyse, sometimes I don’t know about you…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There were tracks just up the hill from our front porch. We’d put pennies on them too. But never a toy, which isn’t to say we wouldn’t have had the thought occurred to one of us. I remember a terrible accident; we were having a snowball fight in between the rail cars when one jerked forward, slicing into the leg of a friend who was kneeling behind one of the large steel wheels. My older brother drug him out and away from it, saving his leg from being cut clean off. Our days of playing on the tracks were never the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I must be overly tired because this story cracked me up. I can’t stop giggling. Somehow this seems like a thing I would have done as a child but not you–from what I’ve read about you. You seem so sweet and gentle. The juxtaposition is hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great story, Elyse! Your boss only asked if you would have played with a doll like that. She didn’t ask how you would play with it or for how long…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One of my problems in life is always identifying with the victim…even stuffed animals. Poor little Pebbles.


    • There is no need to feel badly for Pebbles. Of all the toys that met their end, there on the tracks, Pebbles had it best. Her head ended up in a tree, high up the hill. From there she could watch out for other trains, see all the fund activities we did, hear the cars on I-95 on the other side of the tracks. Before that, she was usually on the floor under my dirty clothes (I was not a neat child.)

      Yes, Pebbles had a good life. Errrr… after life.


  8. Oh my … or maybe I’m not surprised! … but did you tell your boss the story or will she read it here?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That IS a great office party idea.

    As to your childhood tradition, have you ever considered extensive therapy, Elyse?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been trying to write up my therapy experiences. They were hilarious. But i worry that it would just be ammo for folksxwho need it avoiding it


  10. Oh, my, you brought back so many memories of “hanging out” on the forbidden railroad tracks. Squishing pretty much anything we could. I’m glad to hear my actions were totally normal for a kid. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ha! I may have joined you with barbies. I don’t like barbies..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s too funny! Imagine how far the head would fly–someone could get seriously hurt besides the doll! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. OMG I’m still howling! I’m sure your poor parents would have lost many years of life if they had read the part about… hell, just about any of this. But it made my day.


    • We ultimately did fess up to our parents. But not until many, many years later. Because we’d gotten away with it, hadn’t we?

      My parents moved when I was an adult to a town where to get anywhere you had to go through a RR crossing. The first time I did it, I was driving with Fred in the car. Even though the light was green, we looked at each other, swallowed, and I hit the gas, eager to not test my/our luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That sounds like quite a sight to behold.


  15. Whoah. And I thought my sister and I were sick when we drove the Barbie Dreamhouse over a “cliff” in our yard.
    My daughter’s Barbie’s were all scalped and made to wear clothes made of tissues. She was a punk rocker wanna-be.


    • Well, I think young demons just use whatever is available to abuse their toys. In that department, trains and cliffs rank pretty high. And I think your daughter had gender issues straight from way back!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Brilliant hook on the Secret Santa, and all for a worthy cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup! One year I got a bike! It was there, waiting with all the other presents. I felt like I was 7 again, really. It went to a church group in the inner city. But not before we all rode it around our offices.

      And really, the gifts folks give each other through Secret Santas are those token things that nobody really needs. Toys for underprivileged kids? Yup.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. That doll would have never survived my childhood either, you are not alone in your oddness Elyse. Though I must say, trains this is quite cool.

    I do love your office party idea. This is very much on the side of awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You tell a great story and I enjoy reading your posts.

    I thing that’s a great office party idea, on so many levels. But yeah, I was more than a bit apprehensive to hear how dolly met her end!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. My barbies always ended up beheaded, dearmed or delegged, although it wasn’t by roaring trains. I’m glad you survived these little games, Elyse, and that we get to hear about them.


    • It wasn’t very safe to be a toy in our day, was it?!

      I’m glad I survived, too. Many years ago a little girl was on the Today Show with her mom and her brother. She had fallen when they were playing on the tracks. Luckily, she managed to stay between the rails. The train passed over her, and when it did, she stood up. She looked at her brother and said, ” Don’t tell Mom!” I immediately called my brother to tell him!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. What a neat idea! It’s so … ripe with opportunities for being snotty or snippy or just get a good dig in at a co-worker anonymously. Or, I suppose, you could actually do it from a place of kindness as well…if you’re that sort of person.

    BTW: I wasn’t going to say anything since zorbear is my favorite animal and he’s been stuffed since Thanksgiving, but I’m not ready to give him up just yet. Fortunately others have commented on your party, so I don’t have to worry…


    • We have the advantage of liking each other. Plus,the gift-giver is always revealed.

      But I wouldn’t have put Zorbear on the tracks. I’m pretty sure he would have been there with us on the tracks in a somewhat safer role. Somewhat.


  21. Deborah the Closet Monster

    See, I would have played with dolls with this kind of enticement!

    (I still can’t figure out why my younger tomboy self liked My Little Pony so much, but that’s neither here nor there!)


  22. I relate to this… but in a more ‘blowing up and setting fire to my G. I. Joes’ kind of a way…


  23. That’s about what happened to my Barbies, too, thanks to my brother’s GI Joe. That GI Joe wasn’t very nice to the thin-waisted gal.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Haha. I so would have done that with the dolls.

    What a great idea for the holiday party.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I was never into dolls either… but, if there had been railroad tracks by our house, I’m sure my brothers I would have put them to good use. Love the Christmas party idea too!


  26. Paul

    Yikes! It’s a wonder that you and your brother survived. Phew. You had my hair standing on end just reaidng about it. That’s a cool tradition at your office. How many people work there?


    • It really is. If my parents had known, they would have KILLED us. (My father, when we were teens used to say in his best WC Fields immitation”(get outta here, kid, ya bother me. Go play on the RR tracks.” I don’t know exactly when we let him know about this particular recreational activity.


  27. Sounds like a secret Santa thing, but with a twist. And that the gifts will be donated to needy kids. That’s nice.

    By the way, thanks for the link back to my little piece of Christmas party fiction, but the link doesn’t seem to work. You might want to take a look and give it a nudge.


    • I fixed the link. I’m not sure I believe you that it was not working — could it be a diabolical plot by you to make WordPress to notify me of my change?

      (It really is a fun party.)


  28. Awesome! You scare me.


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