At Christmas time my family draws names for a gift exchange. It's something we did through out my childhood and continue to do now that most of us are married, but instead of everyone drawing individual names we do it as couples. Most years come and go without incident. We all give and get lovely gifts from each other, but there is one year that still sticks out in my mind. It was the year of the whale adoption.
My brother Derek and his wife Wendy drew my sister Cara. She was married at the time, but that's another story for a different type of blog ;) Derek and Wendy love Christmas and try to have fun with the gifts they give. That year they decided it would be fun to adopt a whale for my sister. This means instead of spending money on a gift and giving it to Cara they gave money to a foundation that protects whales. In return the foundation gives pictures, an adoption certificate, a history of the whale you adopted, and updates on how your adopted whale is doing.
We all thought it was a little strange, but everyone praised them for their thoughtfulness. Everyone except our Dad that is. He thought that it was a dumb gift and felt sorry for Cara.
She on the other hand was very gracious and continued to show everyone the certificate and pictures of her whale. She then proceeded to read the history to us out loud.
The history wasn't very interesting in the beginning, but by the end of the history we all discovered that her adopted whale had not been seen for a very long time and was presumed dead. We all had a good laugh that her Christmas gift was a dead whale. Derek and Wendy then announced that it was in fact a gag gift, to our father's relief, and gave Cara her real gift.
I thought this was clever and hated to see such a funny idea die so with the help of Wendy I came up with my own adopt a whale gift for my husband's side of the family. We had his sister Keysha and her husband Cory this last Christmas and thought they would be the perfect people to receive such a gift.
Wendy made me up an adoption certificate and helped me get started on the history and letter explaining the gift. Then I printed up a picture of a whale on glossy photo paper and made a CD with whale songs and songs about whales. I also purchased a small whale stuffed animal that my daughter informed me looked like it had brain damage. I wrapped it all up and did my best to make it look official.
The reaction was once again priceless. We had many who thought it was real, but my favorite reaction would have to be from my brother in law Jay who loved that we had given the gift of death for Christmas.
With a little imagination, or stolen imagination on my part, the ability to write created a lasting memory for two families.