Resurrecting a lost art (that probably should have stayed lost)

At Toastmasters last night, the Table Topics (impromptu speaking segment) were themed around awful and awkward Christmas gifts, and the difficulty of pretending to be grateful for them.  Much hilarity ensued, with the result that it was decided that at our end of year Christmas party next week, our Secret Santa game (where everyone brings a wrapped gift, which all go in a pile so nobody knows who gave what, then everyone either picks a present to unwrap or “steals” a present from somebody who’s already opened theirs) should be similarly themed – that everyone should bring along a dreadful or embarrassing gift. But under $5.
I was brainstorming ideas with my colleagues at lunch today, and we agreed that the most awful present anyone could give you would be a tin of foot odour powder.  I thought that was possibly a little *too* awful (and probably over the $5 limit), but it reminded me of Christmas parties in the tiny town we lived in when I was a very small child, where Father Christmas would be in attendance and hand each child a small gift, probably donated by the CWI ladies (Country Women’s Institute, who were *huge* in that town).  For some reason, one of the most popular* gifts was a bar of soap wrapped in a face cloth, artistically folded into the shape of a swan or some other whimsical creature.
*Popular only in terms of the number given out – its popularity among the kids who received one was probably somewhat different. I can’t actually remember if I ever received one myself, but I can imagine the disappointment if you thought you were getting a toy from Santa, and ended up with soap!
Anyway, inspired by this vague memory, I decided to have a go at recreating this not exactly terrible, but still so terribly disappointing, present.  So I stopped off at the supermarket to acquire a cheap face cloth and even cheaper bar of soap, found some googly eyes in my craft stash, and set to work on my artistic masterpiece.  I was hampered somewhat by the fact that I couldn’t really remember much about what they looked like, or how they were constructed, so my swan turned out looking more like a deformed Loch Ness monster crossed with a peacock:

But I reckon I totally nailed the whole “a present you’d struggle to be grateful for” thing!

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  1. Interestingly, your description of it looking like the Loch Ness monster and a peacock are remarkable close to the mark!
    And you are right, this is no gift for a child! Dolls or things with wheels are what’s needed on those occasions!

  2. This made me laugh… I’ve seen similar but never received one. But, I did get one of these: a bar of soap trimmed with lace and beads, sitting on little bead feet, with a plastic flower on top, all assembled with straight pins!
    Be sure to let us know what Secret Santa gives you.

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