By Martha B
According to Google dictionary a White Elephant is “a possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of.” The origin of the expression is “from the story that the kings of Siam gave such animals as a gift to courtiers considered obnoxious, in order to ruin the recipient by the great expense incurred in maintaining the animal.”
The evening Film Discussion has a very long (20 year plus) tradition of holding an annual White Elephant Sale to dispose of items we no longer need, find a home for them among our discussion group friends, and also raise funds to pay for group expenses like goodbye gifts, baby gifts, and group parties!
Here is the way it works. Members bring items which are auctioned off for no more than $2. The auction starts at 10 cents but, if a person really likes an item up for auction, she immediately shouts “two dollars” and it is hers! People bring some useless, but amusing, items on purpose. BUT no one dares make a snide comment since, if she does, she has instantly bought it and must take it home with her! We encourage members to buy for others in the group to make the auction fun and lively. Any items not exchanged are donated to a local charity.
So the White Elephant Sale is a win-win for everybody—she who gets rid of the item she no longer needs, she who finds a treasure at the sale, our group treasury which is enriched to pay for group activities, and the charity who gets all that does not sell. And, as you can see from the picture, we have lots of fun!