The idea being that Christmas has basically become a gift card exchange. Pretty much we give each other a gift card and say,
"Go get yourself something nice."
My brilliant and economically sound idea was to just buy for one person, spend $50, write your name and at least three things you want and keep it secret. We all wrote from the same pad of paper and I made a rule to not put down gift cards.
Before we left the dinner table just about everyone knew who had who. My niece folded the corner of her piece of paper, I yelled out "I thought I said no gift cards." Erv looked at his paper and said,
"I don't know what any of this stuff is. Is this English?"
That was a give away that he picked Boy #3's name. The geek, and we are not sure what language he speaks. He has had to provide a picture and a two paragraph explanation of each item on his list to me since he was about twelve. I could tell Erv wanted to put his name back in the basket. I looked at Boy #2 and his girlfriend, they were showing each other the names they picked and then they looked at me. My dad is a stickler for rules and stuck to them saying he wasn't going to tell anyone who he had. He put his name in his pocket and avoided eye contact with mom. A tell tale sign that he picked her. Had he picked anyone else she would have been given the name because dad don't shop.
The Secret Santa drama continued for a few more minutes and then we did the dishes. Time will tell if my money saving, brilliant plan will work. I think everyone is happy to cut down on the Christmas present spending. The secret part blew out the window immediately which isn't a surprise because no one ever listens to me anyway. I'm still in charge though.