Christmas Gift Exchange... by C.L. Beck

Fun Stuff and Humorous Stories by C.L. (Cindy) Beck

(Also, announcing the Kroger-Chex giveaway winner, below!)

Hurray, a Christmas present in the mail, addressed to us from our friend, Frank! I opened it and on the Christmas tag inside it read: “To Vance and Beth.”

I narrowed my eyes and looked over at my hubby, Russ, to see if he'd noticed the gift. He seemed happily engaged in watching football, his sport of choice for December. Now was my chance! Since Vance and Beth were friends of ours, I felt certain they wouldn’t mind if I shook the package and listened for money a clue as to whether it was really meant for us or them.

And that’s when Russ slowly turned his head, resembling some robot thingy on Star Trek, and looked at me. He cocked his head to the side and raised one eyebrow like that well known vulture, Spock. Oops. I mean that well known Vulcan, Spock.

“Why are you shaking that?” he said, while taking it from my hands and reading the tag.

“I’m trying to figure out if it’s really meant for us or for Vance and Beth.” I snatched it back from him. Not that I cared if he knew who it was addressed to, but hey, if there was money in there it was mine!

I tucked the gift under my arm and moved out of grabbing range. “I think we need to open it so we know who it’s supposed to be for.”

A slight frown creased Russ’s forehead. “We don’t have to do that. Just email them and ask if they were expecting a gift from Frank. If they were, then it’s theirs. If they weren’t, then it’s probably meant for us and Frank just put the wrong tag on.”

It was a good suggestion, but I wasn’t about to tell Russ that because then he would think he knew enough to run the universe, and we certainly couldn’t have that.

The next day, I sent a note to Vance:

Dec. 10

Hey Vance, good buddy! We got a package mailed to us from Frank with your name on the gift inside. Do you usually exchange gifts, or can I assume this is meant for us? If it’s meant for you, do you want us to open it and tell you what it is so you can thank him, or just mail it on to you, unopened?

~ Cindy

PS: Even if there’s money in it, I’m certain there’s no money in it.

A day later, we received a reply:

Dec. 11

Hi Cindy and Russ: How are my good friends? No, we don’t exchange gifts with Frank. Heck, I have a hard enough time just getting out my Christmas cards, much less exchanging gifts. How about screening my gifts for me and opening it so I can send a thank you to Frank right away. Then you can mail it to me. We won’t tell Frank about the mix up.

~ Vance

I grabbed the scissors and with bated breath prepared to cut the ribbon on the package … when Russ walked into the room.

“What are you doing to Vance’s gift?”

“He said I could open it,” I replied, hiding the package behind my back. Russ scurried around behind me, put me in a headlock, patted my arm and said, “No, you don’t need to open it. Just send it on to him.”

Muttering to myself about what I thought of a Grinch who wouldn’t let people open gifts that belonged to other people, I mailed the package off. Unopened and unharmed, even.

A few days later, another email came from Vance:

Dec. 17

Hi Cindy and Russ: Two boxes arrived in the mail from Frank today. One came from Utah and had your handwriting on it, with Frank’s return address. Which do I open? Oh, I know, I’ll open both and send you the one I don’t want! :)

~ Vance

Ha! That Vance was funny. Sooooo funny. I emailed him back:

Dec. 18

Hi Vance, who used to be my friend: Open my gift and you die!

~ Cindy

Two days later, the original package #1 from Frank came back to us from Vance, and another email arrived from Vance. Since Russ stood next to me as the email came in, I read it out loud to him:

Dec. 19

Hi Cindy and Russ! Get ready to smack your forehead again. Or better yet, smack mine. We mailed back to you the package #1 from Frank … you know, the one that came to you originally, that you shook, checked for money and then sent on to us.

In the meantime, I opened package #2 from Frank and realized that the gift inside had your names on it! I should have opened and looked at it before I sent you back the other one. I’m betting they contain the same gifts—or at least similar—but if you want, I’ll send the one with your name on it to you. I’m sure it won’t arrive before Christmas, though.

It feels like some sort of canned food …

Russ leaned closer to the email. “Canned food? Like green beans and Spam? What kind of present is that for Frank to send? Well, tell Vance he can keep the Spam and we’ll keep the Hickory Farms goodies that are probably in package #1.”

I gave package #1 another shake. It looked a little worse … okay, a lot worse for the wear, having been shipped around the country three times. And nope, still no money. Probably just green beans and Spam. But hey, a present’s a present, right?

I sat down and sent a note back to Vance:

Dec. 19

Hi Vance! I’m pretty certain both packages are the same, so we’ll keep the one we have here and you keep the one you have there, even though the names on the gift tags are wrong. I’m going to send a note to Frank tonight telling him the package he sent to Russ and me came and we’re waiting until Christmas to open it. I’m not going to tell him the reason I’m waiting is just in case another package shows up from him!

Have a great Christmas.

~ Cindy

(Note: This story is based on a real Christmas event. However, names have been changed so that no one thinks Frank lost his marbles. As for what was in the packages … both of them contained identical gifts from Hickory Farms. No Spam, but there was a small canned ham. And definitely no money!)

Wishing all of my readers a wonderful holiday season and a healthy, happy, prosperous new year!

Winner of the Kroger-Chex Giveaway: MARI! I'll be sending you an email, Mari, so that you can claim your prize. Thanks so much to all who entered the contest.

------Photo © ByTheBecks, story © C.L. (Cindy) Beck------

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Triple Nickel said...

This was hilarious. It must have cost everyone a fortune in postage. Thanks for a great Christmas time blog.

Watchman said...

That's hilarious! World Class! It reminds me of a story that happened to me -- but I know better than to tell the whole world about it. :-)

Keep up the great storytelling.

Slamdunk said...

Congrats to Mari and I hope you were able to take up a collection to pay for all of the postage.

Merry Christmas to you and your family Cindy.

Carol L. said...

lol lol The postage alone would have wiped out any joy in the present. lol But I especially liked how Russ had you in a headlock. lol lol
Cindy I wish you and Russ and family a Happy Holiday. And thank you for the laughter during the year. :)
Carol L

Melinda said...

What a tale! Thanks for the laugh.

Randall said...


Great story. Once again I had to laugh. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas.


Nichole Giles said...

Funny! I hope you enjoyed the canned ham.