Tuesday, December 11, 2012
When I was growing up, Pollyannas were the very best thing about the holidays. I found out recently that the origin of this tradition was my mom's college dorm at McMurry University. Pollyannas are like a better version of Secret Santa. You draw someone's name and get them three small gifts. Over three days, you place one present a day out somewhere that your person will see it. My mother loved doing Pollyannas at her dorm so much, she started the tradition with her family in the late sixties and our family has continued spazzing out over random little gifts ever since.
Pollyannas aren't wrapped. Sometimes they'll have the person's name or initial on them but a lot of times you can tell who they're for just by what they are. For example, when I was growing up, a gag gift like fake vomit or an exploding can of nuts was either for my Uncle Kregg or my Papaw. An elephant was likely for my sister, Pistol, and a unicorn was clearly my mom's.
This was always sooooo exciting for me. Imagine being eight and getting to sneak around putting out gifts that you picked out yourself and then waiting to see if your person guesses it's you. It's some serious spy shit, y'all. On the flip, you get to try to figure out who has your name based on the gifts. There was always a lot of speculation amongst us five grandkids. Whenever a new Pollyanna would appear, there would be screams of, "MANDY, I FOUND YOUR POLLY! HERE'S YOUR POLLY! OH WOW, IT'S A BEAR! I BET IT'S FROM MEEMAW, OH WOW!" throughout the house. My sister and my cousins and I felt like detectives. It was just the best.
We haven't done Pollyannas in a few years because my nephews were too young and our Christmas visits have been pretty sporadic lately. But, this year we're bringing it back and I seriously cannot wait to see how my nephews react. They're seven and eight now. I think it's gonna be hilarious. I think they'll be excited. I think they're gonna freak.
But, there's no way they'll freak out as much as their aunt.
*photo of me, sometime in the 80s, no doubt finding a sweeeeet pollyanna.