At my church, we play Secret Santa each year. It’s done in a very simple manner – we bring a small gift to our Christmas party, and the participants draw numbers for the order in which we select. Takeaways are allowed.
I absolutely hate this tradition. And so, I choose not to participate each year. Bah humbug!
The reason I don’t like it is because without fail, there’s always a person or two that gives an over the top “WUT? WAT A HORRIBLE GIFT” response when opening a perfectly nice present. I wonder if the giver feels hurt. I imagine they sometimes do – the giver, who is very likely an overburdened parent (at our church), went out of his or her way to buy something thoughtful, and they get a really crappy response in return.
So of course, I participated in two other Secret Santas this year!
The first is among friends and should go quite well. The second is usually fun as well – it’s the wonderfully managed anibloggers’ Secret Santa, set up by the lovely folks at Reverse Thieves.
I loved the submissions I ended up receiving. I hoped that those I submitted would be well-received as well.
Unfortunately, via social media, I’ve found out they weren’t. I felt terrible for the viewer*, because I didn’t want that person to sit through endless episodes of a pain-inducing series.** But then, I started to feel terrible for myself, as people piled upon the anonymous Secret Santa.
The Secret Santa (me) was jeered and laughed at, and called names, including my favorite, “Secret Satan.”
And truth be told…the conversation was funny. If I wasn’t the topic, I’d probably laugh at the string of talk. And knowing my heart of hearts, I’d also have considered joining along.
This sort of situation has happened to me on a couple of other occasions through social media, which leads me to believe it’s probably a lot more common than we might think. Some brush it off well; some, like me, get hurt, but soon forget; others might be devastated.
This is one the reasons I try to avoid saying negative things about others, though I admit I have a natural inclination to do so, and have let slip many words, I’m sure, that have brought pain or anger to others. We could do 99 things out of love and kindness, but one spiteful word can tear all our goodwill down. Oh, the power of words:
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.
– James 3:6
So I encourage you to watch your tongue, to be kind in your speech and to demonstrate love, which, c’mon, is always a better choice than the alternative. After all, who knows who might be watching or listening, in Heaven and earth.
* Also, to note, my recipient has actually been very kind about the pick, despite disliking it.
** In my defense, it was kind of the classic case of “What do you give the person who has seen everything?” Or at least everything I’ve also seen. -_-‘