Day 549 How to Suck at Secret Santa

It was Monday today.  I struggled to settle into reporting this morning from both insufficient coffee and from distracting news about the terrorist siege in Sydney.  Since last night my Facebook news feeds were a rash of news links showing aerial maps of the area, links against racism, links to hashtags supporting muslims in Australia and links to opinion pieces about why we shouldn’t link or speculate or anything.  I’d called my Dad last night, as he spends a lot of his time sitting in cafes and I had no idea if he had chosen the Lindt cafe in Martin Place.  My sister was probably at home or at university.  Then today I felt bad for allowing the terrorist act to have elicited fear for my family.

Dhivya, one of the other fellows, is an organiser.  She organised a Secret Santa and pizza after work tonight.  I’m sure it was meant to be $10 gifts, which is impossible.  I’ve done Secret Santa before. I spent much of the weekend stressing about what would be a suitable present for my gift, especially because I wasn’t sure what food restrictions I had to observe (could he be allergic to the nuts on the really cool chocolate bar I found in the bakery down the street!?); we’re a diverse group of fellows this year, representing almost 7 countries and every type of diet you can think of.  I knew my person liked daily coffee so I went to Starbucks and chose a gift card that was shaped like a coffee cup.  Maximise the $10!  I forgot to buy an envelope.  I didn’t think to buy a card.

I caught the UHN shuttle from TWH to TGH and realised I had no idea where we were meeting.  Thankfully Dhivya had her cellphone on.  My heart sank when I saw wrapped presents of sizeable volumes on the desk.  In bags.  With cards.  I guilty raced next door and grabbed a hospital envelope and slipped the shrinking gift card into the envelope.  By the time we’d eaten the pizza and Dhivya took a million photos and Luis decided to be Santa my lonely tiny gift card in an envelope was left on the desk.  Hassan picked it up and looked over Luis’ shoulder in a mix of hope and panic that everybody else seemed to have an envelope with a card and giant bag with a wrapped gift… and he just had an envelope.  Like a bushfire everybody noticed and started yelling to stop opening presents because Hassan’s had gone missing.  I had to say something.  The disappointment was growing on Hassan’s face. “That’s all there is!  I only had $10!” I had no idea how people managed to buy such big things for C$10 and I’d thought Hassan would appreciate being able to buy at least another 2 coffees at Starbucks.  We bought each other coffee every day in MR in September.  I’m going to have to go buy him something else, with a bag, and a card.

Dhivya had bought us all cards. And Christmas hats.  I was the Grinch.  But I’ve come home with a nice mug from The Bay.  Thanks secret Jenn!

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