Whether you call it a White Elephant or Dirty Santa Gift Exchange the game is popular at holiday parties and usually a lot of fun. Some embrace the tradition of the old fashioned "white elephant" gift (e.g. crap) others involve real presents, usually with a price limit specified. Either way, typically, it's a lot of fun.
Granted whatever the type of present involved there's a bit of self-imposed pressure to bring a good gift. Everyone wants the gift they brought to be stolen at least once and it's a lot of fun to bring the gift that everyone wants. It's less fun to have brought the gift that clearly no one wants, but usually everyone has a lot of fun or at least has the good manners to pretend they did.
Until last night. There's always someone in the group who takes it a little too seriously, feels the need to correct the host as they explain the rules, makes sure everyone knows as soon as each gift is "locked" or gets huffy when a gift they really wanted is stolen from them. But last night set a new standard for bad behavior. One couple at the party didn't understand that this was a real gift exchange not a gag gift exchange. So, the items they brought didn't quite fit in with the rest of the stuff. Okay, so a couple of people are going end up with less than fantastic presents. Not exactly a tragedy. The hostess actually opened one of these presents, played it off beautifully, gave the giver in question an appropriate of grief, the giver apologized and explained they had not understood the intent of this particular exchange. No harm, no foul, right?
Not to fast. There was one couple at the party who had been vocal from the beginning, jumping in during the explanation of the rules, keeping track for everyone what was "frozen", etc. Well, the woman proceeded to harangue the person who brought the gag gifts, pointing out the gifts didn't fit in to the price parameters and that information as on the invitation, etc. She would not let it go. It was ridiculous. I have never seen a grown up behave so badly over something so completely silly. Yes, her husband did not get an awesome present, but she walked away with a very nice bottle of vodka. And again, the purpose of these things is to have fun, right? It's not really about the gift itself, usually something given by a stranger or casual acquaintance, so in the best of circumstances it's a crap shoot.
On the upside, I guarantee what people are talking about after the party are not the two gifts that weren't fantastic, they're talking about that woman's awful behavior.