Secret Santa Strikes Back

I know, I know, I know.  It’s not even CLOSE to Christmas.  But dang, looking out the window today on THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING, you’d think that ol’ St. Nick is about ready to pull up his fat pants and hit the sleigh in style.

So, here’s the deal.  A number of years ago I opened the ol’ memory bank…nay, I opened my HEART and shared with you (the few people who’ve actually stuck with this long-neglected blog!) the tale of why I don’t do Secret Santa anymore.  It’s a heart warming breaking tale about how a young TKT in first grade (and later as an adult) got candy-caned by secret santas.

Oh.  You haven’t read it?  Maybe you should.  You can find it here: SECRET SANTA SUCKER.  It’s cool.  We’ll wait…

(elevator music)

Awesome.  All caught up?  Great.  You’ll probably dig this:

So, last year, around Christmas time, I got a message from a fella whom I befriended on the internets.  For the sake of anonymity, let’s say his name rhymes with Zen.

So, anyway Ben (oops…cat’s out the bag!) sent me a nice innocent message through the Facebooks.  He said something along the lines of:

Hey pal.  Want to send you a Christmas card.  When you get a chance, send me your address.

Immediately I thought: Hey.  Christmas miracles CAN happen.  

I’ve got a couple of friends who I’ve met through the world wide websticles.  People who treat me as thought we’ve been friends for years.  Folks who are looking to add the Troupe clan into their family fold and/or at least send some Christmas cheer my way.

Being the optimistic idiot that I am, I let my guard down (again).  Wow.  I can actually HEAR the collective groan from the 7 people who still might read this blog.  You people know what’s coming.

I didn’t.

I asked Ben…er, Zen for his address to do the same.  I dispatched the address to an envelope, dropped the latest Troupe Kids Klassic into an envelope and sent it off.  Boom.

Ben and his family got to enjoy the comedic hijinks of my kids.  After a few weeks, it didn’t appear that I was getting jack and/or squat in the form of a holiday greeting from Ben.

Then sometime just after the first week of January (2013) I got a parcel on the front steps of the Troupe Compound.

It looked like this:

Pretty harmless, right?  A nice little box, just slightly small enough for me to dismiss any ideas that Gwyneth Paltrow’s head might be in there.


I’m always so excited to get a parcel at all, that it actually took me a few moments to notice the return address.  It said, simply: SECRET SANTA.  I sort of ignored the return address and for a brief moment in time, I didn’t make the correlation that: SECRET SANTA = BAD TIMES.

Nope.  I bolted into the house, quickly found a sharp knife and slashed the nicely wrapped parcel open.  I sounded like there was all kinds of crap in there and gosh-darn-it…I needed to see what was waiting inside.

When I got the paper away, I found this:


A sparkly green box that just had Christmas Joy oozing from the as of yet unopened innards.  What could be in there?

Surely it had to be something awesome.  I mean, after all.  Someone went to a TON of trouble to send this thing all the way out to good ol’ Woodbury, MN.

Maybe it was a… you know, I couldn’t even speculate.  I didn’t  wait that long.  If it was a bomb, it would’ve exploded in my face.  I didn’t even pause long enough to listen for the tell-tale ticks of hot n’ fiery doom.

Since I know you are (were) as excited as I was to find out what was inside, let’s cut right to the chase.

IMG_2812  IMG_2814  IMG_2813  IMG_2815

IMG_2816  IMG_2817  IMG_2818  IMG_2819

So…yeah.  Someone was trying to be cute.  They tried to recreate the nightmare of my two Secret Santa debacles all in ONE PACKAGE.  Let’s review!

– There was a PRETZEL WREATH!  The one thing I can say about this one is that it remained intact, unlike the miserable thing I got in 1st Grade.  Well played, sir.  WELL PLAYED INDEED.

– Remember how I got a PIECE OF FRUIT from my bow-legged secret Santa from the late 90’s?  Well, this jokester remembered and did it up that way, too.  I should be grateful that it wasn’t smothered in delicious anthrax.

– There will be FUDGE!  I think I said the Ralphie from Christmas Story equivalent of “fudge” when I saw this baggie with mostly nuts and a few smatterings of chocolate in the sack.  As if to add insult to injury, this SECRET SANTA FROM MY NIGHTMARES included a note.  It’s almost like he knows how I feel about walnuts.  (they ruin any dessert they touch.  fact.)

– A SNICKERS.  Perfect.  Well, at least it’s a candy bar that contains the only nuts I’ll eat.  Also, rumor has it these treats really satisfy.

– A FORTUNE COOKIE.  No.  I have no idea what the connection to this is.  But…the best part?  I cracked open the cookie and found…NO FORTUNE! Dang.  Talk about kicking a dude in the ribs.

– An ENVELOPE taunting me with tardy wishes for some holidays that are happy.  Nice.

– A HOLIDAY PICTURE of a couple of younger dudes who I know had NOTHING to do with this.  Emblazoned on the bottom of the card?  The last name of Zen-Ben.  I shoulda known.

So…faithful readers, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find this remotely funny.  In fact, I did one of those slow claps that build to a giant round of applause all while laughing my butt-steak off.

Seriously.  Ben went all out to remind me how awful SECRET SANTAS can really be…and I fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

Top marks, Ben.  This is/was strong work.

But, the one thing ol’ Ben doesn’t know about ol’ TKT is that he’s all about payback.  Nothing malicious or nasty, but I’ve got something up my sleeve.  Because I listen…and I watch…and I wait… to strike.

(oh lord how I wait)


So stay tuned, blog-heads.  It’s on.