With the holiday season quickly hitting its high note, I am sure there are numerous hurdles awaiting your family and friend gatherings. I mean, when was the last time all of your gift exchanges and dinner conversations went off without any complications or gripes? Never? Yeah, me too.
Don’t worry. I have a solution that I think will make your next Yankee Swap or White Elephant experience a little less naughty and much more entertaining. The solution? The Office themed swapping story. Some of the best gift swaps I have been a part of randomized the gifts by way of story, which is by no way revolutionary or groundbreaking in itself. (Side note: For those unfamiliar with the game, someone reads a story directing the participants in passing their gifts left or right around the circle to ensure complete gift randomization before the swapping/stealing begins.) Now, these stories are often about funny families or even your typical holiday characters. However, I decided to create my own story, which I highly recommend trying at least once. For me, I wanted a story to evoke some laughter and holiday cheer while promoting that sense of family and friendship. Thinking to myself, I couldn’t come up with a more appropriate duo to headline my story than Jim Halpert and Dwight Schrute. Yes, that’s right, my obsession with The Office will be invading my family’s Christmas this year. Move over Rudolph and Hermey.
Let’s face it, The Office Christmas episodes are pretty solid amongst casual fans and obsessed ones alike. How can you not cringe when Michael tells Phyllis her oven mitt sucks, or when Jim vandalizes his daughter’s photo and, subsequently, blames Dwight? The Office has become a mainstay in most popular culture realms, so why not bring it into your holiday party?
So, without further ado, let’s get down to business. (That’s what she said.)
Rules: When you hear the name “Jim,” you pass the gift to the LEFT. When you hear the name “Dwight,” you pass the gift to the RIGHT. Keep up with the story! (Your group can decide on its own swapping/stealing rules.)
A Dunder Mifflin Christmas Miracle
It was a cold, wintry day in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The office Christmas party was to start later in the afternoon, and the party planning committee still had much to do. Pam asked Jim to go to the store for cake, but Jim said getting a cake was always a bad idea.
Sitting at his desk fielding “sale” calls from forgetful parents in search of a certain mystical unicorn princess doll, Dwight said, “Jim, stop being an idiot, you know these people love their cake.”
At this cue, Stanley so-loving chimed in, “Amen,” and Phyllis giggled over her daily knitting task.
“If you can get a Moroccan-themed cake, I would definitely owe you one,” Phyllis added, “I have a feeling this is going to be a great party.”
Jim remembered the last time he tried to handle buying birthday cakes, and it was not a pleasant memory. Kelly’s birthday was forgotten and Creed requested some shady cobbler from a back alley.
“Oh, come on, Tuna, go get the cake. Me likey the cakey,” Andy said in his babyish voice.
“Why don’t you have Toby get it? You know Michael always tells him to leave anyways,” he suggested.
“He’s actually going to be in late today,” Erin chimed in, “He said his tires were slashed last night and ‘Humbug’ was written on a note stuck under his door handle.”
Everyone groaned, “Ugh, Michael,” and went back to work.
“You’re lucky I love you. Fine,” Jim said with a smirk, “I’ll go as long as I don’t have to take Dwight.”
“Please, you wouldn’t last out in the snow,” Dwight smugly said, “Do you even know how to put on snow tires?”
With his emasculating comment, Dwight saw his chance to embarrass Jim further.
“I can buy the cake, Pam. I have to stop by my karate dojo anyways to drop off my sensei’s present. I bought him a make-it-yourself jerky kit.” Dwight said proudly. “We wouldn’t want little Jim to get stranded in blizzard and freeze to death. Wait, maybe he should go.”
“Funny, Dwight,” Jim responded unphased. He hadn’t drawn Dwight’s name in the secret Santa and was a little upset. Maybe a prank would do the trick. First, he had to think of something, so Jim suggested, “Let’s both go and see who can help the party planning committee more.”
Dwight took offense to this challenge and eagerly agreed.
Just as the two were grabbing their coats, Kelly and Ryan made a grand entrance by their usual fashion.
“Kelly, I am not buying you Rihanna’s CD. She is the epitome of the anti-artistic fascist movement and has no musical taste. She doesn’t write from the heart, she writes for the penny-pinching industry and their drone audience. Let’s go listen to Coldplay, now there is a band that has never sold out.”
With a collective groan, the office tried to tune these two humbugs out on this festive day. However, Kevin was not even listening to this lover’s spat, as visions of sugar plums danced in his head. “Who would ever sugar a plum? Now, I would sugar a cookie, but never a plum,” he mumbled to himself.
As the two drove down the snowy streets, Jim spotted a familiar face. Michael was pulling a large Christmas tree down the sidewalk.
Slowing down ever so slightly, Jim sincerely asked, “Michael, are you okay?”
“Yeah,” he said with a smile across his frozen face. “Packer needed my car because he said his is totaled. I haven’t heard him in a while, so it was nice to catch up. You know Packer, always living the dream. Well, he said something about hitting a reindeer coming home from my mom’s house. I was actually getting ready to load up this tree when he called, so, yeah, just need to get this baby to the office. You know what Chevy Chase says, ‘The bigger the tree, the bigger the presents. Ho Ho Ho, ya filthy animal!’”
Dwight asked if he needed help, but Michael pretended not to hear him, and the duo was back on their way. Jim’s plan would soon be into full swing, but he first needed to find a suitable parking spot. His plan was hatching, and he wanted to see just how far he could go. For Dwight is a gullible guy, especially at Christmas time.
As Jim’s car turned into the parking lot, he calmly said, “You know, Dwight, I haven’t told anyone this yet, but I met the real Santa once, or, at least he told me he was.” With a mixture of bewilderment and skepticism, Dwight leaned in. “He was so jolly and nice, but then he said some pretty messed up things. Like, he told me he wanted to steal our Christmas presents and that he had almost missed Christmas this year because he was almost arrested last week.”
“Wait,” Dwight interrupted Jim’s story, “where did you meet this guy?”
“Like a few days ago at the mall, but I never got to the weirdest part. This Santa told me that the guy who almost caught him was harassing him during his break for feeding his reindeer apples and not beet greens …”
Jim had overheard Dwight arguing with Andy about what reindeer truly eat earlier in the week. Dwight was telling Andy that he always tests every Santa with that question to prevent impostors from learning our Christmas secrets.
“…he also told me that this guy almost blew his cover. Santa plans on robbing every house this year to ruin our precious holiday. As he walked out of the store, Dwight, he started saying he was as cuddly as a cactus and that he had a heart two sizes too small…”
“Jim, why didn’t you call the cops? Ugh, I knew that guy was a fake Santa. I knew it. We have to stop him.” Dwight said angrily.
“Well, I wasn’t sure what to do since I wanted him to give me presents, and he claimed to have a heart condition…”
“Stop right there, Jim,” Dwight interrupted. He pointed.
As both looked through the slightly frosted car window, an older gentleman wearing a red coat slowly made his way past their car. He turned his head toward the two and his tremendous white beard was caught in the snowy breeze. It was as though the man saw a ghost, and he began to walk a bit quicker towards the store doors. A puzzled look swept Dwight’s face and then changed to determination. He hurriedly reached for the door handle while mumbling, “not today.”
“Dwight, wait!” Jim tried to exclaim as he reached for his friend. He was too late. Dwight had jumped out of the car like a cat chasing a mouse. He ran and tackled the old man to the cold ground.
“I got him, Jim, I got him,” Dwight yelled through the crowd. “Trying to steal Christmas, aye,” Dwight interrogated the startled man. “I had you pinned the other day. Apples, psssh, those don’t grow at the north pole, idiot.” Dwight was pleased with his detective work. “Do you remember, me, huh? Dwight K. Shrute. We met the other day, Santa, or at least that’s what you told me your name was, imposter.”
Jim had finally made his way through the small group, which was getting larger to see such a peculiar sight. A grown man wearing a hunter’s cap in a business suit and snow boots tackling a man who looked like Santa. “Dwight, get off him! I was just making that story up! The coincidence behind it was great, but come on. Geez, Dwight. What is wrong with you?”
“Uh, uh,” sheer embarrassment passed over Dwight’s face, but the damage was done. Apparently, someone who saw the whole thing called the Scranton police, and those are the lights Dwight didn’t want to see one this Christmas eve.
“Officers, I can explain,” was Dwight’s only remark upon their arrival. But he was cut off, by an officer’s hand. “Hey, Tom,” the officer pointed at the man, “isn’t that the guy we’re supposed to be looking for? The one who stole money from that Salvation Army bucket looking like a Santa Clause?”
Everyone was puzzled, but the other officer confirmed the man’s identity. As it turned out, the man whom Dwight had tackled was actually being investigated for some minor crimes. Dwight actually caught a criminal. It was a Christmas miracle, and Jim simply could not believe it. Dwight would tell the story so many times that day one would think it was the new Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Dwight actually forgot that the whole thing was as supposed to be a prank, but Angela knew it from the start. Her sweater may have been jolly, but her constant glare at Jim could make even the jolliest elf cry. Whether he knew it or not, Jim had actually given Dwight the best Christmas present. As in the coming week, Dwight’s admission back into the Scranton Police’s Volunteer Sheriff Program was reinstated.
Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas to all and all a good night! (P.S.That’s what Santa said.)