MISTLETOE, MERRIMENT, AND MURDER
by Sara Rosett
About fifteen years ago I was invited to my first white elephant gift exchange party. The first rule was that we had to bring something from home—we couldn’t spend any money. The second rule was that our gift had to be awful as possible. I can’t remember now what I took, but I do remember the presents that were exchanged and how what one person thought of as “trash,” another person saw as a “treasure.”
The party was a blast. We had so much fun competing over gifts that at first glance wouldn’t seem that valuable. For instance, one woman brought a broken sewing machine. Another woman fought to get it because she wanted a sewing machine and knew her dad could fix anything.
I “won” this kitchen utensil. Can you guess what it is?
Turns out, it’s a tomato slicer, a quintessential white elephant gift.
I wasn’t writing books at the time, but knew I wanted to attempt to write a mystery someday, so lots of my everyday experiences went in my mental “that’s interesting” file. The white elephant gift exchange party went in that file.
Fast forward thirteen years or so. I had written six Ellie Avery mystery series by then and was planning to write a Christmas book. I had several ideas, but the one that I was most excited to use was the white elephant gift exchange idea. Several of the gifts that I use in MISTLETOE, MERRIMENT, AND MURDER came from that first white elephant party. The white elephant gift exchange provided all sorts of interesting plot possibilities as well. What if one of the gifts was a hidden treasure? What if one of the gifts was used as a murder weapon? What if several of the gifts were red herrings? That one party provided a great jumping off point for brainstorming.
I’m a huge fan of white elephant parties now. In fact, it’s about time to start thinking about what would make a great white elephant gift this year. It might be time to regift that tomato slicer…
Our thanks to Sara Rosett for sharing the inspiration for her new book Mistletoe, Merriment, and Murder (Ellie Avery Mysteries)
We are passionate about white elephant gifts and white elephant gift exchange parties. We will do all that we can to make your experience with AlbinoPhant better than you can imagine.