But of course!

So apparently there’s a game called “Chinese Christmas” in which people bring unwanted gifts to a party and then try to steal the best games away from each other.  Because that’s how Chinese people are, yanno.

Other people apparently call this the “White Elephant” game.  Because, yanno, no white elephants have ever complained.  Darn those Chinese!  Not only do they complain about being stereotyped as sneaky, but they are not like those good (white) elephants!

7 thoughts on “But of course!

  1. Like Sang-Shil, I’d always heard that called a Yankee swap (which is also an ethnic characterization, I suppose, now that I think about it).

    I wish I were shocked that someone calls a Yankee swap a Chinese Christmas, but I’m not that surprised; it’s just like Telephone being called Chinese whispers. In both cases, I’m pretty sure the game existed first and the racist name came later.

  2. …sigh. First Chinese fire drills and now this?

    Although I thought the name “white elephant” came about because it did start off as a way to get rid of unwanted presents, and I guess the present that started it all was an ugly ass statue of a white elephant that just kept getting passed around year after year. Of course now yeah, it seems pretty ridiculous to assume that we might know what the original gifts were in that first series of exchanges, but that’s how it was explained to me anyway.

  3. I never heard of a Chinese Christmas except for how Jews celebrate the day by eating Chinese food and taking in a movie (which has roots in NYC, where this was once–perhaps still is–the only option of an outing for nonChristians on the compulsory day off).

    Not having grown up Jewish, and still having Christian family to appease, I have never been able to have a truely “Jewish Christmas”, but I aspire to it.

    I am now going to google for the origins of the term white elephant. I mean, why IS the elephant (in the livingroom?) white? Why is it an elephant and not–say–a unicorn? What ARE its origins? BRB.

    Ahhh interesting. I guess this explains how it sometimes gets called a Chinese Christmas rather than White Elephant because, hey, all Asians are Chinese right?

    From Wikipedia:

    The term derives from the sacred white elephants kept by traditional Southeast Asian monarchs in Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. To possess a white elephant was regarded (and still is regarded, in Thailand and Burma) as a sign that the monarch was ruling with justice and the kingdom was blessed with peace and prosperity.[citation needed] The tradition derives from tales in the scriptures which associate a white elephant with the birth of Buddha.[citation needed] Because the animals were considered sacred and laws protected them from labor, receiving a “gift” of a white elephant from a monarch was both a blessing and a curse: a blessing because of the animal’s sacred nature and a curse because the animal could be put to no practical use.

    The fact that citations are needed renders this explanation somewhat suspect, however.

  4. Hmmm — we have done this at parties but it’s never been called Chinese Christmas nor White Elephant. It’s just called the Christmas exchange. I will have to ask my friends. Is it a regional thing? I am on the north eastern seaboard.

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