The Secret Lives of Santa's Ungrateful Elves, Keeping the XXX in X-mas, and Other Questionable AdviceS

Welcome to Thatz Not Okay, a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions to caity.weaver@gawker.com with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."

I work for a company with about 40 other professionals which is owned by a very wealthy man (I'm talking a full-time chauffeur, a couple of live-in maids, a butler, etc.) who is extremely tight with money. So tight in fact, that this holiday season, like all the others gone by, we do not expect bonuses or any vacation days. Instead, we receive Christmas gifts from him.

These presents are bestowed upon us in a peculiar manner. At 6pm every Christmas Eve, after all of our work is complete, we stay late at the office to drink cider and eat cookies. After a little bit of small-talk and a lot of watch-checking, the "grab bag" presents are passed around. We are obliged to open them in front of him and it becomes kind of uncomfortable.

Some of the presents are weird: one male coworker received gift cards to GNC and Sephora. Some of them are from his home: my colleague got a pillow and a tea set. And some of them are (unintentionally) offensive: a slightly over-weight receptionist was given a gym membership and a box of tea. Over the years, the presents have ranged from a Metrocard with $17 of credit to an un-boxed Bedazzler.

Even though there is always a little bit of entertainment value in it for us, some of my coworkers and I find it offensive. Maybe he is trying to do a nice thing by giving us these gifts, but I see it as a rich man giving his employees his hand-me-downs as a substitute for the cash bonuses that we really want. For me, it would be no different if he went to lunch at Le Cirque and brought us back his leftovers to share as an afternoon snack.

I need to know if it is okay for me to give him a gift this year. You know, something from my house that I am not using like the set of cloth napkins and napkin rings he gave me last Christmas. Am I within bounds in doing this? Is that okay?

Thatz Not Okay.

First of all, I have to address the elephant in the room, which is that you are obviously an elf who works for Santa. (Required to work on Christmas Eve for a wealthy, eccentric man who feeds you cookies and gives you presents from a big bag? Cool Santa, bro.) Thank you for this chilling glimpse into North Pole-itics. In order to protect your anonymity, let's give your boss a pseudonym. I'll call him "Surnta Clurz."

It is a very foolish idea to mess with Surnta Clurz who, in addition to being magic, is also your boss.

I'm sorry you don't like the weird presents your boss gives you. However, please note that under no law is your boss required to give you fantastic Christmas presents. Or even any Christmas presents.

And, to be honest, I would be thrilled to receive any of those gifts. What wouldn't I Bedazzle with a Bedazzler from Nick Denton's home? A $17 MetroCard? What a terrible gift of free money. These hypothetical leftovers from Le Cirque? I'm starving! Give me that half portion of warm salad, plated two hours ago.

It doesn't sound to me as if your choices are "random shitty present" (And how is it a "grab bag" if everyone's gift is specifically chosen for them? That is just a "regular bag in which presents are temporarily stored") or "cash bonus." It sounds like your choices are "pillow from your boss' home" or "nothing." My mom would probably prefer I give her a cash bonus of $10,000 this year rather than the (SPOILER ALERT MOM; SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH) Christmas ornaments she's getting, but it would be unreasonable of her to complain about this. I'm not trying to hear her noise on Christmas.

Let's say you wrap up the napkin set your boss gave you last year and present it to him as a re-gift. What's the best case scenario here? That your boss opens the gift, has no recollection of giving it to you, and is so moved he appeals to you to guide his sleigh tonight? That's unlikely.

Odds are he will open it and:

A) not recall giving it to you, then feel confused about why you gave him this lackluster gift.

Or

B) recall giving it to you and immediately dislike you for making such a passive-aggressive power play.

"Remember that guy who got fired for throwing the boss' present back in his face?" your coworkers will say at next year's Christmas party. "What a bad-ass, who is now unemployed." Then your boss will pass around the No Rules Grab Bag of Carefully Selected Gifts and someone else will receive the cloth napkins.

If you find the gift-exchange so abhorrent, see if there's a way you can sneak out early this year. Otherwise, pipe down, accept your gift with a smile, roll your eyes at your coworkers, and let the man move on.

He's got to fly around the world and give cloth napkins to a ton of children tonight.

I've been with my boyfriend for nearly three years now and we are both in our late 20s (no kids). Last year was the first time we spent Christmas together because he decided to make the four-hour trek with me to visit my family. This year, we've decided to spend the weekend with my family, return home on Sunday, have our own celebration on Christmas Eve (Monday), and then spend Christmas Day with his family.

...That was until today when I started talking about my plans for our Christmas Eve meal and he suggested that we invite his parents over that night to join us after we exchange gifts. I faltered when he asked me this because I have a surprise plan to do a candlelight dinner and the whole shebang and didn't want to give it away. He got pretty touchy then and said "I always spends Christmas Eve with my family." Well, I've always spent it AND Christmas Day with my family too!

I was really looking forward to a romantic/intimate/adult/possibly XXX Christmas Eve celebration with the man I love... that does not involve parents, familial chatter, and (not to mention) doubling the meal I planned. I don't want to start an altercation with him over Christmas plans since it seems to defeat the whole point of the holiday, but, I really don't want him to extend the invite to his parents..Is that okay?

Thatz not okay.

I'm glad you see that to start a big fight with your boyfriend about Christmas would be "to defeat the whole point of the holiday." However, you seem to miss the point that cutting out family time in order to have an XXX rated dinner also misses what some Peanuts might describe as "what Christmas is all about."

As I see it, you have two options here.

Option 1: Slutty Mrs. Claus

Fuck your boyfriend's parents. NOT literally, although that is in keeping with your Good King WenSEXlas holiday theme. If you have time and live near bagels, combine the two by suggesting they come over early in the day for Christmas Eve brunch. Otherwise, I'm afraid you will be forced to blow your surprise. (As someone who loves planning surprises, I do empathize with you on this.) Tell your boyfriend Mary and Joseph are not welcome at the inn because you've planned an elaborate holiday fuckfest that starts with oysters and ends with an autumn baby.

Option 2: The Spirit of Christmas
Bite the bullet and invite your boyfriend's parents over. So what if you have to serve your elegant fondue-for-two out of a bucket now, or prepare a second edible bra? It's Christmas! Welcome them into your home. This is not a time to be exclusive.

If the "familial chatter" starts to drive you crazy, steer the conversation back to your idea of a perfect Christmas party which I'm guessing consists of one person alone, in a room, masturbating.

Your boyfriend won't feel like he's cheating on his parents with you and, when they leave, you can ho ho hump him till dawn.

Personally, I'd go with Option 2. It's Christmas Eve, not Arbor Day—not traditionally a time for sexiness. Plus, you can have sex whenever you want if you're an adult. You can plan a romantic dinner any night of the year. Technically, yes, this includes Christmas Eve – but why not arrange the meal for one of the other 364 days when there's not a conflict?

Also, the fact that your boyfriend has already suggested including his parents pretty much guarantees that all he'll see when he ogles your tatas, all decked out in lights and tinsel for the Christmas season, are the sad, lonely faces of the people who gave him life.

That's no kind of XXX-mas fun.

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