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A Mature Gift Exchange

I recall getting the worst gift in the class at the fourth grade gift exchange. That was a homemade scrunchie that my friend made, and it looked like nothing more than a piece of elastic with small pieces of fabric tied to it. I didn’t even know what it was at first. My friend had to explain to me what it was. I wanted to swear them off forever!



(not the actual scrunchie)

In my fifth grade class, we had another gift exchange. I was weary of it after the fourth grade one. However, I was at a different school this time, so I decided to give it a chance.

So, my dad took me to the mall after school. We went to the Disney Store and picked out a Donald Duck stationary set. It was so nice I wanted to keep it for myself! When we passed the Kay Bee Toys on our way out, I noticed that fashion dolls were on sale.

We wrapped up the gift, and I took it to school in the morning. Bbefore class, the girls were talking about the kinds of gifts they brought. My friend joined in on the conversation, and held up her gift wrapped in Peppermint Rose wrapping paper. She had a sheepish look on her face. Judging by the shape and size of the box, we all knew what it was; a Barbie. Then I remembered I had seen them on sale in the Kay Bee Toys at the mall the night before.

When we had the gift exchange we played a game to exchange the gifts. It wasn’t numbers picked at random. We played a Hot Potato like game. None of the other girls wanted the doll. While we were playing the game they whispered to me meanly, “Take the doll!” At first I was confused and offended. Out of all the girls in my class I was apparently viewed as the most immature one. They based this on some of the other immature things I did; liking Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, having a strange sense of humor, taking bad photos (not being photogenic), wearing childish clothes, not being concerned about my appearance, playing with toys in general, drawing cartoons, and eating weird sandwiches. I think I was the only girl in my class who still played with Barbies, or at least admitted to playing with them.

After I thought about it, I concluded that a Barbie wouldn’t be such a bad gift. At least it beat a homemade scrunchie. So after much contemplation and hesitation, I took it. The other girls were more interested in “mature” gifts like jewelry and perfume. When I opened the present it wasn’t just any Barbie, but Princess Jasmine Water Jewel Magic doll!





She would go perfectly with my other two Disney Princess dolls, Belle and Ariel! She would also go with my two beach themed dolls, Sun Sensation Barbie and Hawaiian Fun Ken. I was happy with it. I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed some jewelry or perfume that much. I wasn’t into those things back then, and I’m really not into them now. One of my other friends got the stationary set. After the exchange, the girls who got jewelry were wearing it.

I gotta say that the boys seemed to give better gifts. Somebody gave a mini pool table, the kind that are low to the ground and are about two to three feet wide. I could have played mini pool with my dad.


After all these years, I still have the doll. Her neck has some problems, and she is a little beat up. A few years later, in 1996, I fashioned her a crude Sailor Mars outfit (I used to play Sailor Moon with my Barbies before I had some official Sailor Moon dolls).


I thought the jewel on her bathing suit looked like jewel that the Sailors have on their bows. That made her a perfect candidate.

My gift exchange record ended at 1-1.

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Hoju Koolander Posted on Dec 14, 2015 at 05:55 AM

At my work Gift Exchange the only thing offered seems to be various bottles of booze, so I really miss the days when an action figure or Ace of Base CD could be up for grabs. This was a very fun story and the fact that you made your own Sailor Moon costumes is awesome. I used to do the same thing for my Spider-Man toys, building him armor and doing re-paints.

MarshMellow Posted on Dec 11, 2015 at 03:38 AM

I would have loved to receive a Jasmine doll in my class's gift exchange. For some reason we had a "random household item" gift exchange in fourth grade, and I ended up with a dishrag.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 11, 2015 at 01:25 AM

This reminds me of a bad experience in our fourth grade gift exchange. I received a heavily used Star Wars figure wrapped in newspaper and sealed in a cardboard box ( no wrapping paper ). It came from one of the less fortunate students in the class. But me being a spoiled little 10 year old, I took it upon myself to cry about it.

Looking back on it now, I cringe and hate myself for my reaction. I guess I had witnessed my friends and others getting these nice new gifts, and felt cheated.

pikachulover Posted on Dec 10, 2015 at 07:13 PM

That sounds like a really fun play set. And thanks.

mickyarber Posted on Dec 10, 2015 at 06:06 PM

I used to love those Christmas parties at school with the gift exchanges. I can remember a couple of things I got from them.

Probably the coolest thing I got was a Fall Guy playset. It was a truck that you pulled back and let go and it would run on it's own. It came with a Lee Majors figure in a pose with his arms up in the air, and it also came with, I think, a traffic light.

You would put Lee Majors standing in the back of the truck, and run it towards the traffic light. When it went under it, the figures hands would grab the pole and hang on while the truck kept going.

It was a really well designed toy that really fit the theme of the Fall Guy show, where Lee played a Hollywood stunt man.

Fun article.

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